Workshop Descriptions

THURSDAY MORNING

BibleTelling 101
Phyllis Hostmeyer and John Walsh
During this highly interactive series of workshops, participants will practice several techniques for learning stories without memorizing. By the end of the day everyone will be telling three stories fluently. Come learn the five secrets of becoming a successful Biblical storyteller.

GENERAL SESSION: The Power of Storytelling in Ministry
Mary Claire Anderson and Panel of Speakers
Let’s explore how and why storytelling is such a dynamic tool for discipleship. What draws people to stories? How do stories reveal truth? How does our brain process stories?  How are they absorbed into our world view? How do stories open doors to the heart and to the mind?

A panel of storytellers will offer insights from their expertise and their experiences to answer these questions.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON 

Caring for Individuals Using Bible Stories
Pastor Brian Thieme
All people of every age have times of need. When people are in need, encouragement from our Lord can be the balm to heal their wounds, or stories of God’s cosequences can help to set the people on the right path again. In this workshop, we will explore the use of Bible stories for giving counsel to those in need. Together, we will compile a list of Bible stories that will equip us to be a light among all of God’s people.

Literacy/ESL using Bible Stories
Jan Walsh
Language Olympics was designed as a literacy program, using one-on-one tutoring to help students who struggle with reading. Lessons are centered around 30 Old Testament stories and 30 New Testament stories. 

In time, the course was expanded into an English-learning (ESL) course for refugees and immigrants. Both versions are being used in ministries around the world.

In this workshop, you will examine the material and learn how to use it with an individual who needs it. Language Olympics doesn’t require an advanced degree or prior tutoring experience to assist someone in learning English or learning to read. You can help someone change their life!

BibleTelling 201
John Walsh and Phyllis Hostmeyer
Some Bible stories are more difficult to tell because of their length or some content that involves long lists and dialogues. During this session participants will practice techniques for learning and telling those more difficult stories.

Make Your Story “Stick” 
Mary Claire Anderson
“To be, or not to be?”  
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” 
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Is there a line from a poem or a movie that has always stuck with you? What makes it memorable? The structure of your story, the phrasing of your ideas, and the storytelling skills you use can make a lasting impression. Learn and practice practical tips.

Be Your Own Guest Speaker 
Mary Claire Anderson
Bring your lesson to life by portraying an author, an artist, a composer, a mathematician, a character in a story or in a story problem, an explorer, a queen—the possibilities are limitless. Find out steps to complete different levels of research and how to turn your research into a story that you can tell. Your class will retain the knowledge as they remember the story. You will prepare and practice a short story before the workshop is complete.

FRIDAY MORNING 

Talking About Nothing While Talking About Something
Mike Anderson
Having been a lower elementary teacher four 43 years, the usage of stories (and songs) became part of regular, daily classroom discussions. As my performing career developed, stories became part of my typical stage patter. The focus of this presentation will be to give hints and insights into how you can do the same and become one of those teachers the kids love because they can get you “off topic.” That’s the verbal equivalent of the “educational toy. “

Educational toys,” ha, when I was six, my folks gave me…

Recognizing Bible Story Worldviews: Tell Stories to Reach People from all Cultures
Dr. Anne Alexander
The Bible is written to people from many perspectives: guilt/innocence, honor/shame, fear/power, and purity/pollution. Recognizing different themes will radically change the way you read the Bible! In communicating God’s good news to others through Bible stories, be aware of how to bridge the cultural gap by intentionally including these themes. 

Narrative Bible Teaching in Classes & Small Groups
Dr. Mark Getz
Maintaining Biblical literacy in our culture requires an effective strategy to pass on the knowledge of the Scripture to this generation and the next.  Most of the opportunities to do this occur in classes and small groups in churches, homes, and schools.  We will examine strategies that can be adapted to different time frames, group sizes, and group expectations and still communicate effectively while keeping them coming back for more.

Cross-Cultural Mentoring and Discipleship
Rick Miller
Learn how to mentor/disciple people of other cultures by entrusting them with the task of conveying Bible stories to their own language/culture group. Please do not think that you can not do this. On the contrary, God may be calling you to be the spark that brings many people into his Kingdom.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON 

Encouraging Dialogue
Phyllis Hostmeyer
Now that you are sharing Bible stories, what comes next? This session will show how to use graphic organizers to encourage dialogue during small group studies of Bible stories. Dig into the stories of the Bible while sharing ideas and insights. If possible, please bring a Bible with you – hard copy or electronic.

Short Term Missions: Storytelling in Action 
Jennifer Smith
Learn to integrate storytelling into short term missions among people of different backgrounds, cultures, world views, languages, and foundational beliefs. This interactive workshop will provide easily transferrable tips, tools, and hands-on practice opportunities packaged in a safe and fun environment for anyone from a first-timer to a seasoned mission veteran. Participants will walk away with increased confidence that they can successfully navigate the challenges of diversity in mission work by interacting with others at a heart-to-heart level. 

Bible Storying in Children’s Ministry
Pastor Brad Habeggar
Brad will share his experiences with Bible storytelling in Children’s ministry at his church and at the Camp of Champions.

Refugee Work and Storytelling 
Mark Morris, of Refugee Memphis and Union University
We never know when and where the next crisis will occur, resulting in an Afghan or Ukrainian humanitarian disaster. Refugees are relocating across the globe at an alarming pace. Recipient countries are hardly prepared. What about the church? Are we ready to demonstrate the love of Christ and communicate the reason for our hope? Old Testament stories are the starting point God has provided for communicating His message across cultures. This breakout deals with cultural realities and handles for communicating God’s Word across cultures among Muslims in particular.

FRIDAY EVENING

Story Concert
Host: Mike Anderson
Friday evening includes a “concert of stories” open to the public. Select conference Storytellers will share a variety of stories demonstrating various methods for using stories in ministry. Mostly, it will be a lot of fun!

This is a free event; however, we will receive a voluntary offering to help cover the costs of this event.

If you are interested in submitting a story for consideration, please see details here.

SATURDAY MORNING 

Telling it Better: The Big Story of Scripture and the Gospel
Dr. Stan Nussbaum
Stan currently leads the “Better Way Contextualization Project,” encouraging small teams in various cultures to choose one of seven ways to tell the biblical panorama story that roughly fits with their culture. Then they customize it to fit better and they do small-scale experiments with their new version of the story. See the seven stories at https://www.syncx.org/seven-versions-of-the-story.

Workshop participants may join that project if they wish or simply work on their own to craft a biblical panorama story (3-4 minutes) that summarizes the gospel from a new angle. They can teach their version to others as an alternative to the conceptual ways we usually summarize the gospel (Romans Road, Four Laws, etc.) or the biblical narrative ways that tell the story as if forgiveness of sin is the key theme (Firm Foundations, Simply the Story, and most other chronological story methods).

Life Skills from the Book of Proverbs 
John Walsh
John uses personal stories, Bible stories, and imaginative “made up” stories to create an interactive study on basic life skills from the book of Proverbs. In this workshop, you will learn how to implement John’s new book and website in your ministry.

GENERAL SESSION: Ideas and Goals
Phyllis Hostmeyer and Panel
Bible stories are not just for children. Members of this panel will share how setting goals has encouraged them to use storying in ministry, education, and daily life. Come gather ideas on a variety of ways you can establish a Bible-telling ministry.