Making the Familiar Unfamiliar

We’re in the middle of a series called, “Even Me?” and we’re looking at how, regardless of our past or how unqualified we think we are, God still wants us to be a part of His story. And we’ve been looking at some familiar stories in the Bibles of guys who weren’t perfect, but ultimately were used by God anyway.

It’s been a really good series, but it’s been very difficult as well. One of the main reasons it’s been difficult is that we’re using stories like: Jonah, Samson, and David. Now, the task with using familiar stories is that as soon as they hear the name “Jonah” or “Samson” or “David”, they tune out because they “heard that one a million times in Sunday School.”

So for me, the task is to make the familiar unfamiliar. And it’s been really stretching for me because I’m having to “bone up” on my own knowledge of each of these stories and what’s happening so that I can present them in a way to 7th and 8th graders that doesn’t start with, “Today we’re going to talk about…” or “I’d like to tell you a story about…” or whatever.

So for Jonah, I wrote a Melodrama (participants act out the story as the narrator reads it) where we had over 15 students participating in roles like the waves, the wind, the worm, and of course, Jonah. They knew the story, but were engaged by their participation and it seemed to work really well.

Last week I wrote a courtroom drama featuring Samson and Delilah where Samson is suing Delilah for cutting his hair and turning him over to the Philistines. Not only was it a little different perspective, but I had 2 amazing leaders step up and fill the roles of Samson and Delilah.

So how are you making the familiar unfamiliar? How are you engaging your audience with an old story but in a new way? I would love to hear some other ways that are working for you.

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