For our first post on the Youth Ministry Blog this year, we introduce to you our new weekly curriculum series Stories and Rituals. Thank you to Canon Andrew Kellner for introducing us to this new resource!
Stories and Rituals shares our office’s guiding principle: “To help youth encounter God and connect with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” To this end each lesson plan offers an outline to provide an engaging presentation of one of that Sunday’s lectionary readings. The readings are presented in a thought-provoking manner, building on the tradition of storytelling. Rather than engage in an exploration about where the readings come from, Stories and Rituals focuses on the main themes and ideas expressed in each week’s story. The goal is to promote religious thinking in daily living, by providing opportunity for youth and adults to explore what each story is saying in three major categories:
1) What is the story telling us about God?
2) What is the story telling us about humanity (What it means to be human)?
3) What is the story telling us about the world?
This type of exploration provides the basics needed for students to discover that the message contained in Scripture is connected to their own life. Further, it assists youth in the development of a worldview that is informed by the Bible.
Stories and Rituals also offers a weekly prayer ritual, which takes the themes found in the week’s lesson and puts them in practice through prayer. The objective here is to assist youth leaders in providing a dynamic and interactive prayer experience that further bonds the community together. These rituals will vary from week to week but share similarity and take inspiration from outlines found in the Book of Common Prayer. Further, there are suggestions for creating symbolic focal points that allow students to engage more of their senses in the learning process.
We hope that you try Stories and Rituals with your group and look forward to receiving your feedback.