Workshop Descriptions


Conference Orientation
Mary Claire Anderson
A brief survey of conference workshop sessions and introductions of the workshop leaders.

GENERAL SESSION 1: Ah Ha! the Bible is a Story!
Dr. Mark Getz and Conference Speakers
The Bible is a complex collection of different types of literature written by many authors over a long period of time.  What holds this collection together?  Certainly one of the answers to that question is the underlying storyline that starts at the beginning and goes on to the end.  Once that defined storyline is recognized, it can be identified throughout the entire collection.  We will introduce the basic structure of this overarching narrative and hear some stories about what it was like when people first saw it.

GENERAL SESSION 2: Themes (and Story Sets) for Understanding the Whole Bible
Dr. Mark Getz and Dr. Stan Nussbaum
The books of the Bible are tied together by the story of how God has been working in the lives of his people to accomplish his purposes.  Since this narrative is so crucial to understanding the significance of the resurrection of Jesus within this plan, it is important to communicate it well.  We will look at some strategies and ideas that have been used to accomplish this task in different ways.


GENERAL SESSION 3: How to Learn Bible Stories without Memorizing
Don Falkos
Don will guide participants through various activities designed to assist in learning and remembering a Bible story. These activities will include the fun “Draw and Tell” (no artistic talent needed) and the surprisingly effective “Multi-Translation Roundtable.” The methods you learn will allow you to tell a Bible story without having to memorize anything.

GENERAL SESSION 4: Using Bible Stories in Personal Ministry
John Walsh
John will lead a panel of experienced storytellers and Bible tellers. They will share how they have used their skills in various ministries.


Story Concert
Music: Mary Ellen McDowell   Tellers: Conference Workshop Leaders; Coordinator: Mary Claire Anderson
Thursday 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.



WORKSHOP 5A: Telling the Whole Bible Story
Dr. Stan Nussbaum
American culture gives us a golden opportunity to share the story of the gospel not as an explanation of religious concepts but as an actual story of a public awareness campaign, a campaign that Jesus came to earth to promote and to die for. In this session we will look at the campaign’s origin, message, goals, and methods as well as the remarkable way that all attempts to block the campaign backfired and promoted it. We will consider what all that has to do with us, the current members of Jesus’s campaign team, as we live and retell the story of the best campaign ever.

WORKSHOP 5B: Symphony of Stories 
Penny McLain
Symphony: an elaborate, multipart musical composition that comes together in harmony. Like a symphony, Biblical storytelling is also a multipart composition that comes together in harmony. Come learn techniques, activities, and ideas that will help your small group delve into one Bible story per week. These weekly stories will blend into one harmonious story that sings the praises of God and His love for us.  

WORKSHOP 6A: Learning Difficult Bible Stories
John Walsh
This is an advanced BibleTelling class – Most Bible stories are a simple narrative. With practice, a person can mentally see the events in their mind and tell others what they see. A few stories are more difficult and require added skills. Fortunately, these skills can be learned. Come prepared to dive into a difficult story and learn to tell it without memorizing.

WORKSHOP 6B: Storyteller in Africa at Age 9
Grace Miller
When I was 9 and living in Sierra Leone, Africa, I started a Sunday school telling Bible stories in my church. Here’s how the next 6 years there shaped my worldview, gave me a strong foundation, and prepared me for everyday ministry here in the United States.


WORKSHOP 7A: Crafting a Captivating Story
Don Falkos
How do you take a fable, a folk tale, or any other type of story from the printed page and bring it to life? In this session, participants will learn a detailed process for doing exactly that. We will work together to develop a story from start to finish. Along the way, we will explore the use of facial expressions, gestures, pausing, and other storytelling tools to improve the presentation of our ever-developing story.

WORKSHOP 7B: Zip It! Lock It! Put It In Your Pocket!
Jenny Schwartz
Jenny will share ways to get children involved and engaged in the lesson presentation. The main point must be memorable and unforgettable, thus keeping their attention! And always presenting God’s plan of salvation and redemption! She will share examples and insight for guidance and correction! 

WORKSHOP 8A: Connect with People through Storytelling
Mary Claire Anderson
All presentations are actually persuasive – the first thing you must do is persuade others to listen to you.  Learn to earn the privilege of being heard by your audience, whether it is in an auditorium, a classroom, or on the other side of the coffee table. We will look at practical steps and storytelling skills, as well as “people skills” that heighten your ministry by strengthening your connection to those you disciple.

WORKSHOP 8B: Orality in Missions, Memory and Meta-narratives
Dr. Larry Dinkins
A review of foundational principles of reproducible Bible stories for evangelism and discipleship for both primary and secondary oral learners both on the home-side and abroad. Exposure to key principles of engaging in oral communication using both individual Bible stories and chronological development of the redemptive story line of the Bible as well as how to absorb large amounts of Scripture using narrative sections of God’s Word. 


Dinner with Speakers at Local Restaurants (optional)
An opportunity to share a meal with a conference speaker you would like to get to know better



WORKSHOP 9A: Warning: Hot Button Bible Story Topics
Dr. Mark Getz and Panel
Using storytelling and narrative communication techniques to teach the Bible is common in some settings and rarely used in others.  Also, many of the Bible stories themselves can make people uncomfortable.  We will look at these kinds of issues that can be a barrier to using narrative teaching styles and their application to the story of the Bible.  Then we will discuss ways to sensitively address them.

WORKSHOP 9B: Why THEIR Worldview Matters
Dr. Anne Alexander
Learn to address today’s questions by choosing stories that will speak clearly to listeners’ hearts using Biblical themes. The Bible is as life-changing today as ever.

GENERAL SESSION 10: Where Do I Go from “Hear”?
Don Falkos and Friends
Don helps us evaluate our conference experience: what we’ve learned, how we’ve been inspired, and most importantly, what “take-aways” we’ve found. What did you HEAR at this conference? Now how will you incorporate it into your ministry?