Crane Chapel to start new Bible programPublished 8:25am Friday, September 14, 2012
Call Crane Community Chapel old-fashioned, but the church plans to study God’s word by reading it front to back.
Now call it innovating, because this journey through the Bible has a new, appealing twist: It reads like a novel.
Services at Crane Chapel begin the reading and discussion Sunday at 10 a.m. of “The Story,” a 31-chapter version of the Bible first released by Zondervan Publishing House in 2005. The church will do a chapter a week at its Sunday morning service, working all the way through the book of Revelations.
“It’s based on the new international translation,” said Pastor Dale Christiansen. “It’s a bit of a condensed Bible.”
Genealogies, for example, are typically excluded from “The Story.” Instead, it focuses more on the narrative aspects.
“One of the benefits of this is to get an overview of the whole story, so when you’re looking at a particular part of it, you know how it fits in, the significance of it,” Christiansen said. “It’s sort of like Bible 101.”
The congregation ranges from people who don’t read the Bible to those who have studied it for 50 years or more, but this program’s new approach makes it appealing for everyone.
“I think there’s a sense of anticipation, just to do something that will give us a fresh experience with a familiar book,” he said.
People at the church are enthusiastic about the idea. Crane Chapel ordered about six dozen copies of the book, and all of them have been distributed so churchgoers can keep a copy at home. More copies are on the way.
Children will follow along with “The Story” also. Christiansen said the Sunday Schools will cover the same material, but tailored toward a younger audience with more visuals.
The timing of the chapters should land the chapter on Christ’s resurrection around Easter 2013.
It’s not common to go through the Bible chronologically, Christiansen said. Typically, Crane Chapel picks specific subjects to go through, or forms a small series out of different sections that relate.
“But we really haven’t done anything from front to back,” he said.
Part of the new approach involves congregation members reading up on a chapter ahead of time to familiarize themselves with the material.
“We ask people to read a chapter before the service begins,” Christiansen said, adding that each chapter is about 12-15 pages. “It’s something you can do in a half hour or less.”
Christiansen said the idea behind “The Story” is spreading between churches. His brother, who attends church in Michigan, recommended “The Story” to him after that church took up the book. He decided to give it a try, hoping it would help people who otherwise don’t know where to begin in reading and understanding the Bible.
“God is not only in every story in the Bible, but he’s the hero in every story,” Christiansen said. “This helps us see the wisdom of choosing to follow God’s script.”