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Great Missional Community Resource: Soma Fast Track Training

I’ve learned a whole heck of a lot from Soma Communities, on Church Planting, Sharing the Gospel, and missional communities that we are implementing in the creation of The Exchange Community in Jackson, Mo.  Recently Soma did a fast track training for their missional community leaders.  This is some great material to go through if you’re leading a missional community or are interested in starting a missional community

Here’s the links to Soma’s Fast Track Training Audio/Video and their notes:

1. The Story of God // Caesar Kalinowski

The Story of God Training Videos One & Two

2. Vision for Missional Communities // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

3. Gospel, Power & Purpose // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

4. Gospel DNA // Jeff Vanderstelt & Abe Meysenburg 

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

5. Gospel in Everyday Rhythms // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

6. Gospel Fluency // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

7. Creating a Disciple-Making Enviroment // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

8. Gospel Shepherding // Abe Meysenburg 

DNA Guide // Your Story, God’s Story

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

9. Missional Community Covenant // Jeff Vanderstelt  

MC Covenant Example

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

10.  Spirit Led Life // Jeff Vanderstelt 

Notes & Assignments 

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

Session 3 Audio

11.  Spiritual Warfare // Jeff Vanderstelt

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

Here’s a link to all of their materials

Picture found here along with the post: Ten Reasons Missional Communities Fail

Missional Training #18 – Preparing to Lead the Story-Formed Way Pt. 2

Two of our Missional Communities are starting the Story-Formed Way this week.  The Story-Formed Way is a 10 week discipleship course  consisting of interactive storytelling and dialogue through the major narratives of Scripture from Creation to Restoration.  Below are some tips on how to prepare to lead the Story.

 Preparation

At the beginning of the lesson, there are big picture points that focus on the gist of what the lesson is leading towards.  That is for your knowledge as the leader.  Read through the Story out loud multiple times.  Learn it.  Ingest it. Meditate on it. Think of the tone in which the characters would be speaking.  You want to story tell, not just read a paper to people.  However, remember that the Story has been crafted to accurately convey the biblical story.  Don’t change the words.  If you misspeak, reiterate what you meant by saying what was written. 

  • To prepare the manuscript I’m telling the story from, I find it helpful to underline and highlight places where I want to emphasize something important that appears in the dialogue. 
  • Look through the questions at the end and try to answer them yourself.  If there are no answers provided for a specific question, make sure you at least think of what that answer could be. 
  • When it comes to the dialogue, I look over the questions before hand and try to answer them myself.  The leaders guide provides answers, but I try to pinpoint the key answers.  If I can think of any others, sometimes I write them down as well.  If the question is difficult or unclear, sometimes I’ll write down an alternative question just in case people don’t understand the question that was written

 Setting the Tone

  • The contents of the bible were originally told, retold, and passed down from person to person, from generation to generation, orally.  Ancient Jews, as well as the church up until the 16th century, all learned the biblical story communally through story telling.  This didn’t just leave them to try to make sense of the bible on their own, but they had a whole community to help interpret the bible and to retain the accuracy of its telling and interpretation.   Two-thirds of the Bible is a narrative.  One of the benefits of learning the narrative is that it opens the door to understand everything else in scripture. 
  • I often relate the Story to being a smorgasbord or a potluck.  If only one or two people bring a dish, it isn’t much fun.  Likewise, every voice is valuable and contributes.  Our discussion is a smorgasbord.  The more variety of voices and perspective, the greater the feast. 
  • Ancient Jewish people would say that there are “70 Facets” to the Bible.  It was like a giant diamond with so many facets that at every turn you get a slightly different perspective and insight into the diamond.  Likewise, One can study the biblical story over a lifetime and still learn new insights.  It’s  like an onion.  You can keep pulling it back and find new layers of meaning.  Each person present is like that facet of a diamond that the Holy Spirit uses to teach us of the beauty within God’s Story. 
  • Relax and have fun.  Make sure that the tone matches the other activities done that night so it seems natural.  We want sharing God’s word and applying the Gospel to each other’s lives to feel natural so when we gather officially to do that, we want it to seem like a very natural thing as well.  
  • After the first week, When you start the lesson, you can ask if someone is willing to review the last lesson or the whole story leading up to the current one.  This reinforces the themes of the greater Story of God so that they are more easily connected to the story you are covering.   Once the full story is remembered, then you go into telling that night’s story.

 

Telling the Story (This should take 2-5 minutes)

  • When telling the story, I find it helpful to have already underlined or highlighted the most important phrases that are brought up in the following dialogue.  This helps me know what is most important, and also helps me keep track of my place so I can look at people when I speak.  I practice the story 3-5 times.  I try to get to the point where I’m not reading the story, but speaking it and using the manuscript to keep me on track.  The Key is to Stick to the Story.
  • Stick to the Narrative.  Don’t interpret on the fly.  Don’t add things from future stories. 

The Dialogue

  • This is where the Story begins to come alive and shape your community.  The purpose of the dialogue is to help draw out the truths from the Story.
  • Remember set up the expectation that all answers given are to come from the night’s narrative or a past narrative in the greater Story.  If someone tries to quote Luther, Calvin, Billy Graham, Buddha, or Deepak Chopra, Joyce Meyer, etc,  say, “I don’t remember them being in the story” or “where did you hear that in the story.”  This is helpful even when someone starts saying, “I don’t think God would do that!” or “I think God is more like this…”  We’re here to learn the biblical story and his truth as the story is interpreted through the individuals of the group. 
  • If you’re leading the dialogue, you’re job is to keep discussion going through asking questions.  It is NOT you duty to answer the questions or to preach.  The Holy Spirit works through hearing the word of God.  The Spirit will work through the people present to lead the group into the truth. 
  • It is not necessary that you ask all the questions.  There’s usually too many questions to focus on.  The questions are meant to spur discussion.  Remember, this isn’t a Q and A session.  The best questions are often, “What did we learn about God in this story?”  “What did we learn about human beings?” 
  • Make sure you spend some time near the end on some life –application questions.  If the group hasn’t already naturally gone there with some of the previous questions, ask questions about how the story parallels their lives, informs their lives, is seen in aspects of their life, etc. 

Also see Preparing to Lead the Story Formed Way Pt. 1

Pictures found herehere.

The Thread

In our church plant, we want to always grow in our ability to become better story tellers in sharing the story of God.  Here’s a great video outlining the story of the bible.  Check it out:

  • What did you like about the way this story is told?
  • What about the Story resonated with your story, heart, and disposition?
  • Who could you share this story with?

Missional Training #10 – Preparing to Lead the Story Formed Way

Story has a way of engaging us and getting past the intellect by speaking the the heart.  We’re all story formed.  The music, movies, tv shows, and books we like shape and form our beleifs.  Story Sticks.  A good story will be remembered far longer than any sermon, speech, or discussion. 

At our church plant, The Story Formed Way, from Caesar Kalinowski and Mike Novelli will be our main discipleship tool to teach the biblical story and theology.  I’ve brought my core group through the first few lessons.  Currently, we have a few members who are reading the Story and leading the dialogue for the first time.  The questions below are meant to help my core group process the video, however, anyone is welcome to leave a comment below.

Check out this video from Echo The Story:

  • What  are some helpful things he said that could encourage interaction of even unchurched people in the Story?
  • I’ve known some people who think they’ve heard or read bible stories before so they have nothing left to learn.  Is this true?  Have you ever read an old familiar story in scripture and have it speak to you as if you heard if for the first time?  What made it fresh for you?
  • What does it mean that God’s word is living and active?  Can God speak to and through all of us? 
  • What is imaginative listening?  How do you think this could give you a fresh hearing of God’s word? 

Caesar Kalinowski suggests beginning each week by reminding people that their input is important to the dialogue after the reading of the Story.  He reminds them that the dialogue is like a potluck or buffett.  A buffett with only a few options isn’t much of a buffett.  What make a meal like this is the rich variety of foods.  Likewise, the dialogue with the story is the same.  It’s not great if only one or two people are talking.  What makes it is the full rich variety of voices and opinions.  Every person adds a unique flavor when they give their perspectives and thoughts on the story. 

The above video above is one of many videos that come with Mike Novelli’s book Shaped By The Story

For my Core Group, Please read  The Gospel-Centred Life, Chapter 10, “Relationships.” 

Resources

Also Check out Missional Training #6 – The Need For Story

Missional Training #6 – The Need for Story

Caesar Kalinowski, of Soma Communities, shares how story is the main vehicle through which we learn.  He introduces us to sharing the bible through storytelling.  Watch the following video.  Consider the questions below as you watch. 

Also, If you’d like some additional information on storying, Caesar has compiled some related notes through his Story of God Training, which roughly follows the video.  It may help in retention of this teaching.

  1. What is the value of knowing the Story?
  2. Caesar read a quote from Stephen Shoemaker, “Our lives must find their place in some greater story, or it will find itself in some lesser story.”  What do you think that means?  What lesser stories have you put your life in?  What lesser stories are the people around you living in?
  3. Caesar said “Stories encourage community and communities encourage stories.” 
  4. How do stories change worldview? 
  5. What were some of the facts that you found interesting about the way people learn?
  6. Why do we need spread the bible through Story? 
  7. What’s the difference between dialogue and Q&A?

For my Core group, Continue with reading The Gospel-Centred Life, Chapter 6, look back to the Cross. Read it,  meditate on it, and live it.  We’ll talk about it the 29th.

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