All posts by Trav Johnson

Flashing lights, Ho-ho-ho’s, shopping lists, and end of year parties are backing you into the corner you despise.

You’re meant to be leading others into an unhurried headspace for Christmas, but the system of the season so easily takes over.

Somehow, the wait of ADVENT gets lost in the Christmas rush.

We know what its like in churches, or schools, or even around the family meal table – unless we slow down in God’s story, other stories consume our attention, and they rob our joy.

That’s why we’re so glad that The Bible Project have released their Advent Word Series.  At AccessTheStory, we’ve developed a free StoryPack to complement The Bible Project’s four-part series.  Each of our 4 interactive group sessions focus on a theme of the Advent season, and will create moments for your group, class, or family to be still in the Christmas narrative.
(click here to download a sample session)

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

There is a better story than the one that’s rushing by.  Our ADVENT StoryPack is designed for you and your group to slow down and interact with the Story of God.

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

“What does AccessTheStory do?”

It’s a great question!

One way we answer that is that we “do” RESOURCING.  We’ve found that a discovery-based approach to bible engagement and discipleship provides a powerful way to see transformation in people’s lives.

So, check out the items on this menu for some options on the resources we have developed to get you started using our discovery-based process.

STORY-BITES

STORY PACKS

PODCAST

Our Director, Trav Johnson’s main talk this year is titled:

“3 shifts helping us reach a generation.”

You can check out his notes on the talk at www.travjohnson.com

If you’re not up for a 5 or 6 minute read, here’s some grabs from the post:

 

The shift in MINDSET is one where we shift from “Taking Jesus to …” to “Joining Jesus there”.

I wonder how much of a colonial (even crusade) mentality shapes our approach to mission.  Failing to see the people along the path of our triumphant conquests – we rush through with our untested assumptions and pre-packaged programs, and we march headlong into our campaigns and building programs without stopping to notice where God is going before us, where He is already at work.

 

The shift in METHOD is one where we shift from “clever answers” to “intentional questions”.

I wonder whether while apologetics may have their place, we get so busy defending the faith, that we neglect the offensive work of the Holy Spirit in the space of good questions.

 

The shift in MESSAGE is one where we shift from “salvation formulas” to “the gospel story”.

AccessTheStory is founded on the belief that the church’s understanding and proclamation of the gospel needs to change if we have any hope of engaging the next generation.

 

Keen to check out Trav’s entire article? – go to www.travjohnson.com

 

sign up to our regular updates – storyline.accessthestory.com

“Bartimaeus cast aside his beggar’s robe and stepped forward, feeling his way toward Jesus.”

JESUS: What do you want from me?”

Well, it wasn’t money.

Up until now that’s all people expected he was after.

Not this time.

In that moment, when he dared to break from his routine.

When he dared to call out to the travelling teacher and he dismissed the disgust of the crowd around him.

In that moment, when he threw off the cloak that prompted the pity of others, and he staggered toward where he believed Jesus was standing.

Perhaps he desperately clung to Jesus’ clothing; perhaps he felt the touch of Jesus on his shoulder; perhaps he was close enough to hear Jesus draw breath as He asked the question:

“What do you want from me?”

Bartimaeus knew exactly what he wanted.

Mark 10:46-52

 

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storyline.accessthestory.com

Kate is a teacher in the Adelaide area who has journeyed with us for about 5 years now.

For as long as we’ve known her, she has longed to see her students engaged in the Bible story – but she often laments the challenge of helping students discover with the tools at her disposal.

We received this email from her today:

I did the story of Leah with my Year 9 girls class yesterday. We are looking at self worth, and thriving – not just surviving.

I used the art work (above) as a prompt and gave them time to respond to some questions.

(I then) explained that the art work was inspired by the story of Leah, Rachel and Jacob.

Then I read ‘The girl no one wanted’ from the Jesus Storybook bible and they storyboarded and journaled.

Below are some cool responses from girls who are strong, opinionated, and mostly anti-god – there are 3 girls who admit they are Christians…

“I’m learning that God doesn’t care about your physical features, He sees through that and loves you for you.”

“In light of this story, I think God might be inviting me to be loved by Him – even if I don’t feel like its true.”

“No matter how different or unloved by others, God accepts us and will always love us – He chooses us no matter how much we mess up.”

Thanks for the framework Travis. I loved being able to say … ‘There’s no right or wrong! We’re all different. God shows us different stuff based on what we need to see.’

I haven’t done this approach with this class before, and it’s definitely the most engaged in a God’s story they’ve been all year.

It’s pretty exciting to be a part of Kate’s story as she invests in the next generation through her role as a teacher.

If you’re reading this and want to explore AccessTheStory’s approach yourself you can:

- sign up to our regular update – StoryLine

- purchase our new pilot resource – StoryBites

- or send us an email and start a conversation!

Yes! We are at Sea World on the Gold Coast for this year’s National Youth Ministry Convention!

We’re excited to launch a pilot version of our new resource “StoryBites”

AND, we’re announcing our new communication initiative: “StoryLine”

- hit the link to sign up and receive some regular inspiration and resourcing for creatively engaging your community in God’s Story!

YOU CAN:

Pop into the expo at the NYMC hub and see us there

AND

don’t miss Trav Johnson’s electives:

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING – Tues  10th Oct, 9am – Conference Centre 1
BIBLICAL STORYING – Tues 10th Oct, 11am – Dolphin Bay

Hope to see you at Sea World – if not, you can still suss out StoryBites and StoryLine!