Telling the story of the Bible in Bristol

If you were at the Bristol Festival of the Word yesterday … thank you for taking part in the 12 Words treasure hunt! We had a great time talking to you all, and exploring the story of the Bible through 12 Words. If you’re still thinking what your 12 Words would be – go and download the You Are Here small group resources here. OR if you’d like to include TWELVE at your own event – drop us a line. We’d love to come and help your church get creative with the Bible.

Watch this space for photos from yesterday’s event … coming soon!

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12 words – preached

A church in Surrey has just finished preaching through 12 Words. You can listen to the whole series and download MP3s here. Different people took on different words – the result is really interesting! We visited a couple of times during the series. It seemed to have got people talking. “Scatterlings” and “Earthed” drew particular comment as words people got their teeth into. We hadn’t thought about 12 Words as a potential sermon series so this was a nice creative surprise. Anyone else thinking of preaching through the Bible this way?

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Light over shops

Light / presence

“Let [us] make audible the silence of the news of the world with the sound turned off so that in that silence we can hear the tragic truth of the Gospel, which is that the world where God is absent is a dark and echoing emptiness; and the comic truth of the Gospel, which is that it is into the depths of this absence that God makes himself present in such unlikely ways and to such unlikely people …” (Frederick Beuchner)

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Earthed Nomad Salt

12 words - NomadThis year we’ll begin posting images, reflections, short films, audio clips – all kinds of creative expressions of our 12 words that together outline the Bible story. Join us as we get our imagination working around these 12 words – email your own creative responses to 12 words and we’ll feature the best on this blog.

You’ll see we’ve taken pics of words in some interesting locations for this blog – but you don’t have to do that! Just interpret the word/s you choose however you wish. We’ll be doing more of that ourselves as the project gets going in the new year.

You can send us images and short films (from your phone or camera), poems, reflections, audio clips, art and illustration, songs, graphics – anything you come up with as you think about one, some or all the 12 words. It doesn’t have to be complicated – an image that you take that is inspired by a word, with a short explanation would be fine – but equally it can be Sistine chapel of an effort! It’s up to you.

Then, when you get your own 12 words, you could do the same in your church or group!

12 words - Salt12 words - Earthed

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You Are Here the final design

For those of you keen to see the finished design for You Are Here below are the first images straight from the designers. We will have stock available from the start of January.

You Are Here cover

You Are Here cover

You Are Here inside cover

You Are Here inside cover

You Are Here timeline

You Are Here timeline

You Are Here map

You Are Here map

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SGM Lifewords presents TWELVE

How would you tell the Bible in just TWELVE words? That’s the starting point for a group activity that just might ignite the way you experience the Bible in your life, your church and your community.

Whether we know the Bible, think we know it, or are coming to it afresh, TWELVE is a way to engage our hearts and imaginations with the whole story of the Bible – and be inspired about our own part in it.

But beware: TWELVE might cause us to break out of our familiar approaches to Bible reading by focusing on group reading, and inviting creative responses – rather than relying on personal study alone. TWELVE is a very different kind of Bible engagement!

At SGM Lifewords we’ve come up with our own 12 words that together try to outline the whole Bible narrative. We’ll help you get to your own set of words, and the place to begin is with our new resource, You Are Here – a group Bible experience to explore the whole story together.

You Are Here picks a path through the story of the Bible, inviting you to explore together, to read, to draw, question, and map your own way. Eight weeks to get into the story, and find your place in it. Each session involves reading Scripture aloud, and immersing yourself in the story. The whole experience begins by inviting you to come up with your own 12 words; eight weeks later it ends by inviting you to revisit those words and explore whether the words look very different through your communal and personal interaction with the Scriptures.

We’re also encouraging people to respond creatively to the 12 words by blogging through art, photography, short films, poetry – it’s up to you!

“The Bible is a book for the heart as well as the head – just look at the Psalms. Creativity is a way into and around the ‘big picture’ of the Bible. A creative approach can lead to those breakthroughs of vision when things begin to make sense in a new way – and TWELVE is all about those moments.”

TWELVE can be used in churches and small groups, and can inspire launch points to help to engage your local community with the Bible.

For more information, and to order your You Are Here workbooks (in packs of 5) and download the group sessions visit the downloads section.

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Krish Kandiah interview

In an extended interview, SGM Lifewords’ Programme Director Danielle Welch talks to Krish Kandiah, Evangelical Alliance’s Executive Director for chuches in mission and Chair of the Biblefresh Executive…

The Story That Shapes Us

Danielle: What’s the story behind the Biblefresh campaign? How did it come about?

Krish: 2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and as we thought about celebrating this landmark, we realised that the UK church isn’t doing particularly well with handling its story. Some research, called Taking the Pulse, was carried out last year and suggested that people seem to lack both confidence in and appetite for the Bible.  Atheists like Richard Dawkins have undermined people’s ability to read the Old Testament in particular. There’s a lot of talk about “toxic texts” – those bits of the Bible that just don’t seem to connect with the way people think. In addition to this the research found that there seems to be a lack appetite for reading the Bible – it’s really rare for a Christian to open a Bible outside of a church meeting.

So we looked for a way we could mark the anniversary, but also work with different organisations to create some momentum around engaging with the Scriptures. The Biblefresh campaign is about celebrating the Bible’s place in and shaping of our culture, and helping the church to reengage with the story. Continue reading

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12 Art @ CRE

Last week SGM Lifewords hosted an artist in residence at the Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Racecourse, Esher. Beginning on Tuesday morning with a plain white stand, including walls, floor and furniture, artist Abi Spendlove had turned the space into a riot of colour by closing time on Friday.

Twelve words that sum up the story of the Bible were used as a starting point for the illustration. Visitors to the stand were invited to add their own words, and guide the evolving artwork. Some chose words that had personal meaning to them, others added theological truths or Biblical principles. The result was a vibrant visual conversation about the Bible and the story that it tells.

The live art event was part of TWELVE, an SGM Lifewords project that will explore the story of the Bible through the creative arts as part of the Biblefresh initiative. Over the next year, a series of artists will create an anthology of artworks on the theme of the story that the Bible tells. Downloadable resources will be available for reading the Bible in community, and the TWELVE journal will provide fresh thinking through articles and conversations about the Bible.

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Rob Cotton interview

Try Something New

SGM Lifewords’ Programme Director Danielle Welch caught up with Rob Cotton, Biblefresh campaign manager, at one of the launch events earlier this year …

Rob Cotton speaking Biblefresh launch

Speaking at the Biblefresh launch

The Biblefresh campaign is a response to the fact that fewer and fewer UK Christians are choosing to engage with the Bible. Do you think people you’ve met at the Biblefresh launch events recognise that problem in their own churches?

It’s been a funny mix. On the one hand, the research we’ve carried out has identified a clear problem, and people are receiving that and proving willing to recognise the symptoms in their own setting. But we’re also providing opportunities for people to share the things that they’ve experimented with which have worked; what’s served them well in their context. I hope as we’ve held the Biblefresh launch events, we’ve given church leaders the opportunity to recognise that, although we’re all wrestling with the same issues, there are lots of different ways of approaching the challenge. Continue reading

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Getting engaged – the latest from Biblefresh

Biblefresh is an exciting new church-wide initiative, inviting UK Christians to take a fresh look at the Bible, and get deeper into the story it tells. SGM Lifewords is one of more than forty agencies taking part in the campaign, providing creative ways for churches to read the Bible together, to train in Bible teaching and learning, to support Bible translation, and to help local communities experience the Bible for themselves. This week, join us in prayer for this initiative.

  • The Biblefresh campaign is aiming to get the whole of the UK church engaged with the whole of the Bible for the whole year in 2011. If we’re not familiar with the Story of which we are a part, how can we hope to live it out in our culture and context? Pray for all the preparation and planning which is going on this year to make 2011 a year of Bible engagement. Pray that the UK church will find a fresh enthusiasm for the Bible and the story it tells through the projects, programmes and ideas made available through the campaign.
  • SGM Lifewords’ contribution to Biblefresh is a new project called Twelve. It’s an invitation to delve deeper into the story of the Bible, to explore the themes and grapple with the questions it raises. We’ll be making downloadable resources, art and media available to help people engage with the story with heart, mind and imagination – and we’ll be inviting as many people as possible to join us on a journey through the story in 2011. Please pray for inspiration and creativity for all those working on this project.
  • SGM Lifewords will be exhibiting with Biblefresh at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Esher from the 11th to 14th May. And in the spirit of the initiative, we’re doing something a bit different this year. We’ll be using our whole stand as a canvas, and handing it over to artist Abi Spendlove, who will be drawing a dynamic and colourful response to the story of the Bible, incorporating ideas and conversations with visitors to the stand. Pray for the team as they make the final preparations for CRE. Pray that this will spark the imaginations of visitors to CRE, and inspire them to think creatively about Bible engagement.
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