All posts by Trav Johnson

“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.




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

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


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“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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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!


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


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!

“I feel more of His heart for us.  The call to see His creation through His eyes.” – Sarah

“VERGE helped me slow down and understand His beauty once again.” – Anon

“My experience of God has changed through looking at God with a new sense of wonder.” – Jeremy

“I’ve been filled with a sense of wonder for the story of God!” – Mollie

“I have asked/answered questions I never thought of before.” – Tori

“I’d love to see this happen again!  I really stand by the vision and heart.” – Hayley


Thanks YWAM Toowoomba, your hospitality and participation in our first ever VERGE event in Queensland was exceptional – here’s to exploring the next step together!




John is an accomplished and acclaimed artist and musician throughout his home country of the Philippines.

But drugs destroyed so much of his life.

After some time in recovery at “House of Hope”, he now serves other recovering drug addicts through his story.

John recently attended VERGE here in Adelaide and was refreshed in his own journey with God:

“My experience of God has changed in that I was confronted by God’s story in new ways I haven’t realised before.  Surely God is here at VERGE.”

John has now returned to his home and is about to do our online course “ThePath” to equip him in the our ministry practices at House  of Hope.’

Check out John’s re-telling of the Christmas story …

IMG_6144.JPG IMG_6145.JPG IMG_6146.JPG IMG_6147.JPG IMG_6148.JPG IMG_6149.JPG


Here’s what some others had to say about VERGE SA 2017:

“My experience of God has changed through a new approach on studying/reading God’s word.  A new point of view on His word.” – Carl, Cebu, Philippines.

“God is saying to me that my story matters in God’s story.  It’s ok to be vulnerable and open (from the smallest to the biggest details of my life.)  I don’t need others approval because I am already approved by God.” – Ara, Cebu, Philippines

“My perspective on sharing God’s story has changed because I’ve been reminded on how I should see others, especially the ones that are hard to love, and that I should try as much as possible to see them how God sees them.” – Shadel, Cebu, Philippines.

“God is telling me that Story is worth telling, mine – His.  Vulnerability isn’t to be shied away from – but faced.  His story requires my story/brokenness to surface and be faced.” – Jacinta, Adelaide.

“God is saying to me to implement this VERGE camp to our church.  Next year we plan to have a VERGE camp for youth and young adults.” – Homer, Cebu, Philippines.

Last weekend, three teenagers from different small towns in regional South Australia gathered for a weekend of spiritual retreat on the Copper Coast, Yorke Peninsula.

I’m sure they thought it was a bit weird playing giant jenga with me as they settled into the lounge room of the house we were staying, but once Pixi served lasagne for dinner, conversation started flowing.  Caution soon gave way to community, and we were ready for whatever the weekend held.

Chloe, Lilli and Ethan had just completed a 3 month journey through God’s story.  After watching a series of short videos, reading selected Bible portions, and connecting regularly with their coaches (who were also at the weekend retreat), the SEQUEL participants had gathered for the culmination of their journey.

After lasagne, one of the coaches set up a series of stations to retell the story they had all experienced over the last 3 months – from Creation to New Creation – and then each person present was able to share something they connected with personally from the story.

Over the two days following we presented sessions on the mission of God (theology and practice), participated in some reflective worship stations, and invited each person to share something of their own story .

The most powerful moment for me was over-hearing one of the participants share with their coaches: “Now I feel like I know what I’m doing in this faith journey – God wants me to be involved in what He’s doing where I am.”

Imagine that – young people in places like Kadina, Loxton and Mount Gambier who are on the lookout for joining God in what He is doing in their schools and communities.

Now, imagine what it would look like to see young people in every regional centre throughout Australia with a perspective like that – it makes me wonder how AccessTheStory might serve the kingdom on a much larger scale.


One thing that God has shown me through SEQUEL is:

“I can use my story to encourage others, including my non-Christian friends. Also that trusting in Jesus brings rest.” – Chloe

“The power of storytelling and the impact it can have on others, great or small, and that God has our story involved in His.” – Ethan

“That you will always be able to find something new, even in an old story that you have heard before.” – Lilly


“And thats the power of God’s Story. It invites us in and provides us with an opportunity to see deeply into our own experience.”

On Saturday 11th March, Jess Bracegirdle and Matt Fricker had the opportunity to facilitate a story experience with 43 students and 7 leaders on the WA VETAMORPHUS retreat at Camp Cooloongup.


We tested out the newly developed SEPARATION Story-pack, which invited participants to explore the Biblical story of how sin entered the human experience. After a brief introduction that set the scene for the story, the students moved off in small groups to begin their journey of discovery through five scenes. The great thing about Story-packs, is that they allow each group / individual to move along at their own pace.

In the first scene, we discovered the beauty and complexity of God’s creative work. One student commented, “It was great to take the time to be reminded of how amazing our planet really is.”

In the second scene, we considered the consequences that came as a result of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. During the large group discussion time, the question was asked, “Why were Adam and Eve afraid of God? If they had only known Him as their creator, friend and companion, what was it about their actions that caused them to fear Him?”


The third scene explored the story of Cain and Abel. It was a good reminder about the relationships we have and how we might see forgiveness and restoration take place.

In the fourth scene, the story of the flood invited us to reflect on how our own rebellion against God has consequences. But it also offered a glimmer of hope, as we saw God reaching out to humanity to save them.

The fifth and final scene was called TOWER, and it told the story of how the people who populated the earth after the flood became self focused.

“Let’s go build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches into heaven. That way we will make a name for ourselves…”


As we discussed what we had discovered, a number of students were able to identify how this story experience had challenged them to think more seriously about what it meant to live as a follower of Jesus in their respective contexts. A number of students were also challenged by the ‘towers” they were building in their lives.

And thats the power of God’s Story. It invites us in and provides us with an opportunity to see deeply into our own experience. As we explore these stories, we discover a portal into a greater understanding of ourselves, one another, our world and our Creator.

He looked down at his shackle-scarred hands as the water lapped around his knees. The boat sailed toward the horizon.

In the midst of the quiet sounds of the ocean and the wind blowing through the caverns of the coastline, the man found his inner silence deafening.

All the voices had left him – he could not recall a time like this. His mind was clear, and his heart longed for companionship.

The words of Jesus remained with him.

He stood up.

He turned.

He made his way home.

Luke 8:26-39