The best story plots – the Bible has them all

Writing on the wall

The writing is on the wall

According to author Christopher Booker, from the Bible to the modern day blockbuster and from Homer to Homer Simpson, there have only been seven enduring story plots. In this blog we take a look at what they are and encounter some famous Biblical examples.

1.  Overcoming the Monster
The classic good guy beats bad guy against the odds. Even Rocky Balboa’s triumphs dwindle in comparison to David the young shepherd vs Goliath the warrior Philistine.

2. Rags to Riches
Audiences were enamoured with the ghetto to the stars tale of Slumdog Millionaire but the original rags to riches story was Joseph’s from the pit to the palace, and from prisoner to Egyptian ruler.

3. The Quest
If you thought Peter Jackon’s Lord of the Ring’s quest was long enough, this was nothing on the Israelites 40 years in the desert before they reached the Promised Land.

4. Voyage and Return
Finding Nemo’s voyage seems to go pretty swimmingly in comparison to Paul’s missionary journeys.

5. Comedy
If you thought Toy Story was far fetched you would not believe the true comedy of Gideon’s 300 men with clay pots and torches defeating 120,000 dumbfounded Midianites!

6. Tragedy
Romeo and Juliet may have a tragic ending but the writing was on the wall for Belteshazzar and villians like Haman and Ahab.

7. Re-Birth
Even Clark Kent’s caped transformation is not a patch on Saul’s conversion, Matthew’s discipleship and of course, the ultimate re-birth: Jesus’ Resurrection.

TIP
So when you next tell a great story from the Bible remember you are relating a real-life story that is better than any Hollywood script writer could dream up. Get excited about it, relive the drama, build the tension and leave the ending to God.

Reaching and teaching adults with special needs

Shirley Dechaine in the USA uses FreeBibleimages and writes, ‘My listeners are adult special needs students in a Sunday School class. Most of them gave their full attention to the Bible story and the colored images brought it to life for them.’ We are thrilled Shirley is willing to share these great tips on building good relationships and helping adults with developmental difficulties to learn:

1. Enter the classroom early with a happy heart.
2. Be prayerfully and fully prepared.
3. As students enter, distribute hugs freely – being sure each student is warmly welcomed.
4. Touch is generally welcomed but be sensitive to each student’s needs. Some prefer a handshake to a hug.
5. Know that it is impossible for you to fail. Your giving heart has already passed the test.
6. Mistakes are allowed.  Let students know that you, too, make mistakes.
7. Take time to listen to their stories, even if spoken in faltering, slow speech.
8. Be compassionate but not overly-sympathetic.
9. Keep class time fun!
10. Teach only one Bible truth and repeat this truth in a variety of ways (role play, puppets, games, music, crafts, guests).
11. Follow your prepared lesson plan unless classroom dynamics require change.  Be flexible.
12. Keep lessons and crafts simple. Don’t get bogged down in too many details. (They won’t remember them anyway.)
13. Use as many visual images as possible. You have visual learners.
14. Involve students as much as possible.
15. Recognise individual capabilities in students. Make use of their strengths.
16. Use appropriate vocabulary. Use “students” or “friends” instead of “children”.  Such references are offensive to special needs adults.
17. Pray with students during class to meet individual heart needs. Encourage personal prayer.

More about this caring Christian ministry to those with special needs can be found at Open hearts extended.

Drawing in the Sand

Image

Connie creatively shapes sand into Bible scenes

Drawing Bible images in the sand. It is a really unusual but interesting art form. We were contacted by Connie Klement from Germany, who, with her husband, worked as missionaries in Brazil. Connie writes, ‘I have been telling Bible stories to children for more then 40 years. I believe that stories change lives and give a foundation for living. I love it.’

When you see how Connie draws Bible scenes in sand you will understand how she keeps the attention of children. You can take a look at how she performs her art in this YouTube video. All this goes to prove the point that using pictures really helps to communicate Bible stories to any age group.

Who learns most from a Bible story?

Widow and Judge

Models of the Judge and Persistent Widow

We were sent some photos by Maureen Chivers of two large figures made by her class after being taught the parable of the Persistent Widow using FreeBibleimages. Having made these figures, the children then retold and reenacted the story using the models.

Maureen knows the value of reinforcing the events of a Bible story by asking learners to creatively express what they have learned. This can be done in many ways –  drama, creative writing, movement and song to list a few.

Who learns most from a story? That’s obvious really. The story teller will read it, perform it, think about it and apply it. The story teller will never forget it! So if the story teller can find ways for listeners to express the story in their words and think through its meaning, it becomes a memorable event for them too.