THE STORY basics
Welcome to Good Shepherd's web page dedicated to The Story!
Make sure to check back here for updates on all
the great things that will be going on this year.
- How does it work?
Did you know that the Bible is a library of sixty-six books written by forty people on three continents over a span of fifteen centuries?
Did you also know that, in this same Bible, a single story is told?
This story is unlike any other story. It’s about how God has created, loved, and pursued humanity from the very beginning – even giving us His only-begotten Son – so that we may live a better life here and a greater life in eternity.
We need to know this story because…
it is the Word of Truth which shows us our salvation.
we need the assurance of faith in the living God.
it can give that same assurance to those who don’t yet know the love of God revealed in Christ Jesus.
For this reason, the time has come for us to dig deeply into this Word of Truth so that we can more ably believe, teach, and confess the one story of God.
This year you are invited as a congregation to join together and engage God’s Word in a unique way using a book called The Story. The Story is an abridged version of the Bible whose text is drawn from the New International Version (NIV). Arranged chronologically from beginning to end – from Genesis to Revelation – The Story offers the actual text of Scripture but presented as a modern novel of 31 chapters, without verse numbers, to emphasize the single, overarching message of the Bible.
This is helpful for all sorts of readers. For those new in faith, it presents the Scriptures in an accessible way. For those more mature in faith, it offers the Bible in a condensed format, giving opportunities for new discoveries.
Why The Story? Why not just read the whole Bible?
For many who have faithfully attempted to read the Bible cover-to-cover, the task is daunting: hard-to-pronounce names, lists of genealogy, long sections on ceremonial laws, and so forth.
What The Story does is to lift up those stories from the Bible that help you to better see what God has been up to in human history. It’s a view of Scripture from 10,000 ft, letting you see the whole forest without being distracted by some of the trees. The hope is that by reading and studying The Story, you will be better prepared to engage the whole breadth of Scripture when you next read the Bible.
Sample page from The Story.
Click for larger.
How does it work?
The basic idea is this: read one chapter from The Story; then come to Sunday worship for a service and sermon based on that chapter. In addition, during each week, Bible Studies, Confirmation class, and Sunday School will all be studying that same chapter.
How long is a chapter? The average length is 15 pages; the shortest chapter is 8 pages, the longest 32. So depending on how fast you read, it takes about 30-60 minutes each week.
I hear there are different versions of the book. Which one will we use?
Our primary text will be the Adult hardback based on the NIV. There is also a Teen softcover edition whose text and page numbers are identical to the adult version.
Also, there are two options for families with young children:
For kids in elementary school, there is The Story for Kids which uses the NIrV (New International Readers’ Version) and whose chapters are shorter than the adult version.
For younger readers, The Story for Children is an illustrated storybook with text summarizing the chapter’s story.
Are there options for those whose eyesight isn’t what it used to be?
The Story has three other reading options in addition to those above. For those who want larger text, there is a Large Print edition. The text and page numbers are the same as the adult and teen versions. You can also purchase an e-book version on your mobile reading device (it retails at $9.99 on Amazon). And, finally, there’s an excellent audiobook that’s available on CD, or digitally through Audible.com.
How do we get books?
WELCA has generously offered to provide books for everyone free of charge. However, if you would like to compensate WELCA for their gift, offering envelopes will be provided inside each book. We will assume that most everyone will want the regular adult hardcover. However, if you would like the Teen, Large Print, For Kids, or For Children versions, there is a signup sheet in the lobby (sign-up now, supplies will be limited). Digital versions will need to be purchased separately.
Can I invite others to come and join us?
Please do! We are right now developing special invitations you can give out to your neighbors, family, and friends.
When do we start?
Beginning in September, we will have a "prologue" sermon series preparing us for our journey together through The Story.
On Sunday, September 16, we will begin distributing copies of The Story.
We will begin reading Chapter One together during the week of Sept. 23-29 for the worship service based on that chapter on September 30.
Until then, look for a display in the lobby and this web page dedicated to The Story.
I’m a fast reader. Can I go ahead and just read the whole book?
Go ahead! Pastor does recommend, however, that you re-read the chapter we’re studying during the week we’re studying it.
I’m not sure I like reading The Story rather than the Bible. Can’t I just read from my Bible?
Yes, you are welcome to do so! Each week at worship, we will include in the printed announcements from where in the Bible that next chapter’s Scripture readings come (they will also be on the web site). What you’ll be missing are the transitions and summaries that help put the readings in context.
THE STORY happenings
Dates to remember
Sept. 9: Last day to sign up for Large Print, Teen, For Kids, and For Children editions. (If not all copies are claimed, unclaimed copies will be available "first come first served").
Sept. 16: Begin book distribution
*Sept. 23-29: Read Chapter One; optional Bible Studies.
Sept. 30: Chapter One worship service & sermon
The Story: Prologue Sermon Series
To prepare us for our journey, we will have a special 4-part intro sermon series from September 2 through September 23. In this series entitled The Story: Prologue, Pr. Keith will give you the Biblical basis of: what Scripture is and why we’re reading it together; how we can use it to strengthen our faith life; the way we can understand how our stories fit into God’s story; and, what the point of it all is.
Reading and Worship Schedule
To the right is the full reading and worship schedule from September to May.
This schedule will be available as a bookmark when books are distributed.
Because of the Fall Supper on October 3, the Wednesday night Bible Study is moved to Tuesday night.
Note: There may be changes to the Wednesday night Bible studies during Lent (Chapters 21 - 27) because of the weekly soup suppers and evening services. Once we have a better grasp on turn out, etc., we will adjust accordingly.