From time to time at church we hear people mentioning our Open the Book team.
But what is Open the Book?
We all love a good story don’t we? We despair with a hero as they hang off the edge of a cliff or we grab the tissues at a soppy happy ending. The Open the Book team of storytellers know the power of a good story. We go into the local schools every other Tuesday to bring a Bible story to life by acting it out. The children and teachers engage with the story and we have them laughing out loud at our antics, and sometimes we have moments where you can hear a pin drop! Stories create an emotional response; when you create an emotional response you remember the stories. Those little synapses in the brain go off at an incredible rate compared to telling someone straight forward facts.
Our hope and our prayer each time is that we plant seeds: that the children and teachers remember the wisdom and life lessons and, most of all, that they remember they are known and valued by a God that loves them unconditionally.
We take in props and costumes and get as many children involved as we possibly can. The schools love and value what we do; the teachers often add their own thoughts or link the story to something they may have seen in schools that week, which really brings home the point of the story.
Open the Book comes under the umbrella of the Bible Society, a known and trusted organisation. The programme is Ofsted approved, which gives teachers reassurance. The stories are accessible to those of other faiths or no faith at all. We say a short prayer at the end, but it always framed in this way:
“I’m going to say a prayer and if you want to make it your prayer, say ‘Amen’ at the end, after me.”
It’s always optional.
As part of our Methodist Way of Life studies, one of the areas we have been talking about is evangelism. It’s a scary word for many, but often it’s just about sharing your faith story and the good news of Jesus in a way that makes sense to you. Clearly, for the Open the Book team the way that makes sense to them is putting on a silly costume and prancing about in school assemblies!
The team love it and there has been an Open the Book team going into the local schools for at least 10 years. There’s no memorising of scripts or hours of preparation. A half our practice is built into the day and stories just happen. It never fails to make us wonder how it ‘just works’. We might be a storyteller down or have forgotten a prop or there’s a last minute change, but it just works.
We’ve learnt to trust in the story and in God that whatever the children need to hear that day will come across in the story. It’s a beautiful thing.
Would you like to help us?
The team are committed and love doing it, but we could always use more people. If you want to be involved in anyway way — making costumes or props, being a storyteller or organising everything we need for each story — then get in touch with Lorraine Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 07850 631168.
You will get an idea of what happens in schools when the young people share a story with you in our 10am Service on Sunday 12th March 2023.
What would be really appreciated by the team is if you would hold us and the schools in prayer when you know we are going in. The dates will be in our News Sheet and on the website’s calendar. This is an important ministry — one that is a blessing for the team as much as it is for the children.
Thank you for listening to our Story.
The Open the Book Team