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This ministry paper focuses on the role of the biblical narrative in shaping Christian identity. A pilot course, The Story of God, was developed to engage and familiarize adults at Christ Presbyterian Church (CPC) in Edina, Minnesota with the overarching story of the Bible. The course was designed to present an alternative narrative to the secular cultural stories that shape the identities of many attendees in seeker-sensitive churches such as CPC. The goal was to encourage participants to find their place in God’s story, rooting their identity and purpose in a worldview informed by the biblical narrative.
This paper first examines the context of CPC and the Edina community. The theological foundation for the project is then developed through a literature review of key sources, a survey of ecclesiology informing CPC and theological reflection upon the relationship of the biblical narrative and Christian identity. The twelve-week pilot course conducted with fourteen members of the congregation is then described. The course presented twelve key themes including: Creation, Fall, Covenant, Exodus, Sinai/Law, Conquest, Kings, Exile, Christ, Cross, Church and Eternity. It was taught through creative storytelling involving group participation. Props created imaginative settings and regular review, reflection and discussion enhanced learning.
The class was evaluated and results showed that regular participants articulated an identity and purpose consistent with a biblical worldview following the class. The students were able to order biblical events and reported that interactive storytelling was an effective means of engaging them in the story. The sample size and context for the pilot course was limited. However, it was determined that The Story of God course could be effectively utilized in other contexts to foster a Christian identity rooted in the biblical narrative.
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Kielsmeier, Deborah E., "Shaped by God’s Story: Rooting Christian Identity in the Biblical Narrative at Christ Presbyterian Church" (2015). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 193.