|Resource uses Bible to help people deal with crisis|
The Rev. Kwasi Kena
Dec. 5, 2005
By Linda Green*
Tenn. (UMNS) — A new online resource from the United Methodist Board of
Discipleship uses Scriptures to help people who are in crisis or
recovering from disaster.
Survivors,” a collection of Bible stories with discussion questions
created for survivors of disaster, was launched Nov. 20 at www.umcevangelism.org.
holidays are stressful times under normal conditions, but when you add
homelessness, separation from the familiar and the other issues of
displacement, the stress factor increases exponentially, said the Rev.
Kwasi Kena, a staff member in the board’s evangelism section.
are so many challenges involved with reaching displaced people: Where
are they now? Where will they be next week?” he said.
When people experience stress and
trauma, they look for hope, he said. “Sharing Bible stories with
people in distress is a gift of hope and strength and faith that we can
offer to people who are trying to rebuild their lives.”
for Survivors” was launched online with the story of Elijah on Mt.
Horeb because so many people were hearing messages that God’s judgment
was being poured out through the hurricanes that struck the Gulf Coast,
he said. “When Elijah met God on Mt. Horeb, there was
terrible wind, and earthquake and a fire, but God was not in them.
God spoke with a quiet whisper.
people in the Gulf region need stories of hope like these,” Kena
explained. “The Bible stories, the life lessons from the Bible story and
the discussion questions are catalysts to enable the survivors to
discover or rediscover faith through the Bible and to discover
their own faith stories that witness of God’s grace at work in their
lives through the disaster.”
Seven more stories are included to help people get through their first Christmas season following a disaster.
The stories are told
without commentary to enable personal and group discovery of spiritual
truths most relevant to the needs of those in crisis and transition. In a
disaster, few people pause to pick up an armful of books or sermon
notes, Kena said. “Hearing and discussing Bible stories encourages
people in crisis to see their unique challenges as stories of faith,
struggle and perseverance.”
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
Methodist Dora Jackson, 77, gathers a few belongings from her home in
Slidell, La., after it was flooded by Hurricane Katrina.
Initiated as a joint
project between the Board of Discipleship and Jack and Doris Day of
Bible Storytelling Inc., the resource also is a response to some
evangelism scholars’ claim that the United States is entering a third or
fourth generation of biblical illiteracy. The Days of
Ashville, Ala., are former missionaries to Brazil, and Jack has written
methodology books and trained people in Bible storytelling.
Preaching is often more
explanation than telling the Bible story, Kena said. Bible stories are
powerful when simply shared with people, which is how the Scriptures
were shared effectively for hundreds of years.
“When people are
presented with the context leading up to the Bible story, and when Bible
stories are told chronologically, people are able to gain a panoramic
perspective of God’s activity with humanity,” he said.
“By simply telling the
Bible story and allowing people to mine the truths for themselves, we
leave room for the Holy Spirit to teach, inspire, convict and comfort
people. Sometimes we get in the way of the biblical message.”
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online resources for survivors of disaster
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Bible Storytelling, Inc.
Chronological Bible Storytelling
Board of Discipleship
Hurricane Relief Resources