All posts by Trav Johnson

ADVENT

A coming into place, view, or being – arrival.

A coming into PLACE.

PLACE – a particular portion of space.

In our never-ending wrestle over where we should put God, here we find Him in the most peculiar place.

A coming into VIEW.

VIEW – an instance of seeing or beholding.

In our determined insistence that we have not seen God, we are welcomed into an instance where He comes into view.

A coming into BEING.

BEING – the fact of existing.

In our agitated confusion over whether God exists, we swaddle the squirming truth of God being.

God has arrived.

ADVENT.

(head to Matt’s blog for some more great ADVENT content)

Fish meant food on the table.

Not just for his family, but for families throughout his village.

Someone counted them – 153 – the wet, sandy net was filled with the promise of a good market-day.

A good market day held the assurance of a smiling wife, security for his family, and standing in his community.

But he walked away.

Have you ever felt the compulsion to walk away from a good market-day? To press pause on the fixation for security and standing, and step into something more meaningful?

Peter felt that.

Jesus called Peter beyond that which was good and into something better – even though it wasn’t clear what the better would look like.

Our new storypack tracks some of Peter’s experience in the transition from resurrection to early church.

You’re invited to journey your community “beyond this shore” with Peter – sign up to our mailing list, and we’ll send this story pack out to you free of charge.

Because Jesus still calls us beyond that which is good, and into something better.

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COMING TO A LOCATION NEAR YOU IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2020

A Professional Development Workshop for Teachers - a day for inspiring and equipping you in engaging your students in the Bible Story.

“Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to open up school-wide discussions about how best to approach faith formation in our students! A well-run and well-presented PD journey which was both interactive and informative.” – Gareth, Blakes Crossing Christian College

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If you’re like most Christian teachers we know, you have a big heart to see your students engage with God in a fresh way.

Sometimes though, passing on the vitality of your own faith can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

That’s why Veta Youth and AccessTheStory are partnering together for INSPIRATE – bringing our experience in learning practice among young people into a PD workshop environment.

Our heart is to provide a space for equipping and refreshing you as you engage your students in the Bible.

As you participate in this 5 hour workshop, you will:

- analyze your current approach

- experience and experiment with participative learning practices

- enhance your current curriculum with fresh frameworks and ideas

- be introduced to Veta Youth and AccessTheStory resources

We are currently planning to run INSPIRATE in 6 states in the early part of 2020.

We believe your school’s investment in you through INSPIRATE will have a powerful influence among your students.

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“(INSPIRATE is) a wonderful opportunity to connect with like minded teachers and share moments grounded in scripture. We all need moments to hit the pause button from our normal routine and simply share and learn from one another.” – Daniel, Temple Christian College

“(Something God is saying to me through my experience at INSPIRATE): Don’t be overwhelmed with the magnitude of numbers of our students who are not reading the Bible but be hopeful that the contribution of each of us is extremely valuable.” – Maria, Temple Christian College

 

 

This week my newsfeed has been dominated by a Christian sport-star’s post that has offended the LGBTQI community. Followed by the subsequent debate over free speech, and employee social media contracts.

Whatever your perspective, when stuff like this happens – for those seeking to teach the Bible – it puts us in an unenviable position

It can be hard to bounce back when we feel like our story is being misrepresented.

In the public square, or in the classroom, or even in our own meeting places, it can feel like everyone thinks that you carry this unhealthy agenda of indoctrination.

At AccessTheStory we now have some years under our belt of diffusing this tension and cultivating learning practice that provides genuine space for leaders and learners to discover together.

One of the things you can do to help make this shift is RESHAPING YOUR DESIRED LEARNING OUTCOMES – our learning experience VERGE became a rich laboratory for this to happen – where we made the choice to assume that the story of God was being heard for the first time – let me give you a couple of examples of how our learning outcomes shifted:

  • My expectation through the telling of the creation narrative has usually been to convince people of the existence of an Eternal Creator, whereas as we retold the story afresh, one of the more common learning outcomes has been for learners to simply reconsider their own heritage or starting place.

  • Another example has been through the narrative of Genesis 3 – a default expectation in the past has been to convince people of their sinfulness, whereas a consistent learning outcome through VERGE has been for people to discover the origin of pain in creation and separation in the experience of humanity.

As we observed these kinds of responses, it helped us reshape our desired outcomes – it seemed like as we gave ourselves permission to hold our agendas loosely, new discoveries and responses to the story of God emerged in ways we never expected.

We’ve pieced a simple learning framework together which gives more examples like the ones I’ve already stated. You can access this framework now by signing up to our storyline tribe.

Our hope is that through this framework, and any other interaction you have with AccessTheStory, you will see your community move beyond the expectation of being indoctrinated, and into the realms of transformation.

The long weekend calls out to all of us.

Busy roads.  Barbecues.  Speedboats.  Sunscreen.

The story we’re living seems so far removed from the story this weekend commemorates.

We know the challenge in schools, churches or even on the family getaway – unless we create the opportunity to gather around it, the power of the Easter Story is swallowed up by the 4-day weekend.

That’s why we’ve developed “CRUSHED” – an interactive story pack that will enable your group to experience this story afresh.

In the space of 45 minutes, you will journey your group through the five scenes provided, and then see how the Easter Story might shape  your long weekend.

Complete the form below, and we will send you the full StoryPack – no charge.

There is a better story than the ones that might distract us.  Our EASTER StoryPack is designed for you and your group to slow down and interact with the Story of God.

Every year  at AccessTheStory, we focus our activity through a particular theme – as we look toward 2019, our word for the year will be:

CELEBRATE

 

One of the main reasons for this is because 2019 marks our 5th birthday – and if you speak to any 5 year old, they will make sure there will be some celebrations involved!

When I think of the word CELEBRATE, I’m reminded of my cricketing days in my younger years.  

Whenever my team took a wicket, we would erupt in spontaneous celebration – all of the team members would run to the centre of the ground, slap each other on the back, and two things seemed to happen:

- we would RETELL the story by sharing our perspectives on the win

- the team would return to their positions with a RENEWED enthusiasm for the game.

CELEBRATION involves RETELLING, and RENEWAL.

Our hope for 2019 is that our activity will orbit around opportunities to CELEBRATE – and that this will provide opportunities for a RETELLING of the Gospel Story, and the RENEWAL of the people involved in the work of the kingdom.

Christian communities are faced with a significant challenge in our time-poor and distraction-rich culture.

We seemed to have lost the capacity to slow down, reflect, listen, read and wonder.

Unless we make the hard choices to stop and intentionally do these things, the opportunities to genuinely engage with God though His story – found in the Bible – are lost.

This is why the learning practices of AccessTheStory have proven to be so valuable – where we assist Christian communities in providing genuine opportunities for people to slow down and interact with God’s story.

If you’re keen to journey with us in 2019, and be first to access some great stuff from AccessTheStory, then sign up to our mailing list below:

Florde Mae is a 20 year old hospitality worker who longs to see her family live beyond their poverty-stricken environment in the Filipino city of Cebu.

Three years ago she was unable to attend school because her family could not afford to send her.

One day she was offered an opportunity to be sponsored through AccessTheStory’s partnership with Ambassador church, who were caring for the kids in her community.

Over the next 2 years Florde Mae received a weekly allowance for transport to college through AccessTheStory under the supervision of the local church.

When she graduated from college she was able to get a job at a hotel, and she now helps her mother put food on the table at home.

Just over two weeks ago, our team returned from their 12 day trip to Cebu in the Philippines.

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There, they ran a short VERGE camp:

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our Director, Trav, ran a 2 day leadership seminar:

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and the team served with local Christian communities among the poor:

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It is such a privilege to be partnering with Ambassador Church of Christ in Cebu as they see God’s love impact their neighbours.

If you would like to further AccessTheStory’s partnership with Ambassador Church in Cebu – go to:

donate.accessthestory.com

“AROUND THE CAMPFIRE”

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by Trav Johnson

Clare* is a pleasant 17 year old with a quiet demeanor and a beaming smile.

I think she might have been uncertain about me at first, but she was polite to the ‘old person’ at her youth group’s camp!

When I spoke with her early into our vergeWA experience, she said she was glad to have the opportunity to connect with her church friends.  Sometimes she finds it hard at church events because she goes to a different school than most of her friends – a school where hardly anyone shares the same faith she has in God.

Her Pastor had spoken with both Clare and her Mum to convince her to come to Verge – so she did – joining her pastors, youth leaders, and youth group friends on a 4-day experience through God’s story.

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As the story unfolded, so did Clare.  She seemed cautious for the first couple of days – experiencing the AccessTheStory episodes from Designed to Satisfied – but after hearing the stories of the first Christians at the end of the third day, Clare did something none of us expected.

As we sat around the campfire that night – inviting campers to tell their story – Clare broke the silence.  She shared about her loneliness at school, but one day she discovered how a Buddhist friend became a Christian through her influence.  Her friend told her that the answer she gave to one question and the kindness she showed sent her on her own journey to Jesus.

Clare had no idea until the girl asked her another question months later.

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Not only was Clare blown away with how God involved her in someone else’s life, but that night she inspired her entire youth group to be willing to share their faith story – even if they feel lonely.

Last week, after a three year hiatus from running VERGE in WA, we saw a community of around 40 people journey through God’s story together.  We’re finding more and more that the emerging generation is excited to be able to  explore faith when they are invited to do so.

Check out this  facebook post from a parent to her church’s youth leaders:

Hey ya’ll …. thank you all so much for your time and your hearts and your willingness to share your faith this weekend. My 15 year old daughter, and 17 year old son (and the other children I carted home) absolutely have been raving about this weekend. Both my kids were deeply touched and challenged in their faith. They have come away from Verge with a deeper understanding but more importantly they feel deeply connected to their faith. They experienced and saw and heard things that made their faith real and palpable to them. You all opened those doors for them and your shared your stories and how Jesus transformed your lives. And you know what??? They heard you!!!

* ‘Clare’ is known by another name, and we wanted to respect her privacy

Keen to track with AccessTheStory?  Join our “StoryLine” tribe here.

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“I’ve heard this story so many times, but today I’ve discovered things that I’ve never thought of before.” (Pastor in Sydney)

“But as I realised the love Jesus had for me was so much bigger than any of my sins, I was put at ease as I let Jesus take my sin away. Letting go of the sins I had held with me for years was an incredible, indescribable feeling” – (High school student after a retreat)

A  STORY EXPERIENCE at your event will give your group of ten or more the opportunity to discover a fresh perspective on a small part of the Bible story.

An AccessTheStory team member can come and facilitate this experience as part (or all!) of the teaching aspect of your event.

 Over the course of the experience, you & your group will :

  • STEP into an episode of the story of God through a large group story-telling session

  • SIT in that episode through an engaging small group time

  • WALK in that episode through a hands on experience

  • SPEAK out your discoveries through a creative time of response

For more information, you can start a conversation here.

 


“What does AccessTheStory do?”

It’s a great question!

One way we answer that is that we “do” EQUIPPING.  The practice of story-telling, story-dialogue, and experiential learning are all skills worth exploring and practicing, and our equipping initiatives provide genuine opportunities for story-formed discipleship and bible engagement through these skills and more.

So, check out the items on this menu for some options  we can run with you and your team.

 

ONLINE COURSE

WORKSHOPS