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Shaped by the Story: Helping Students Encounter God in a New Way Paperback – October 12, 2008

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A good story draws students in, engaging their hearts and minds---leaving them wanting more. God's story is like this...a captivating epic that stretches from the beginning of time, across our lives and into the future...calling us to find ourselves in it. We can help students to be captured by this amazing story, rather than seeing the Bible as confusing, boring or irrelevant. After ten years in youth ministry, Michael Novelli felt like he had tried everything to help his students connect with the Bible. Then, a missionary introduced him to a unique, ancient way to engage people with the Bible through story. Michael learned the art of 'Storying,' a sequential telling of Bible stories followed by a time of creative retelling and in-depth dialogue. God used this process to completely transform his youth group as they found themselves experiencing God in a whole new way. Take a journey into the amazing process of Storying, and discover how it can change your life and ministry. This new approach to learning builds a lasting theological foundation while challenging students to discover their unique identity and calling in God's story. Shaped by the Story helps you understand why Storying connects with students today, and provides all you need to introduce Storying to your group, including sample narratives and an interactive training DVD. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michael Novelli created The Story Teen Curriculum and is continually seeking effective ways to help people learn. This passion led him to explore experiential teaching methods for 13 years as a church youth pastor. Now he focuses on creating learner-centered events, resources, and curriculum for students, educators, and churches. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two children. Visit his website at SPANISH BIO: Michael Novelli busca de continuo maneras efectivas de ayudar a las personas a aprender. Su pasion le llevo a explorar metodos de aprendizaje practicos durante 13 anos como pastor de jovenes en la iglesia. Ahora su enfoque es en actividades centradas en el aprendizaje creativo, recursos y curriculos para estudiantes, educadores e iglesias. Tambien es fundador de 'Echo' (, una organizacion que ayuda a las personas a descubrir el arte de 'Historiar', un metodo dialogico de aprendizaje biblico. Michael y su esposa, Michele, y sus hijos, Angelo y Abrielle, residen en Elgin, Illinois.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan/Youth Specialties; 1st edition (October 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310273668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310273660
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For more than two decades Michael Novelli's passion has been to explore the intersection of spiritual formation and experiential learning. This drive continues to fuel his work as a content designer, church youth leader, and community advocate. Michael has a M.Ed. in Integrated Learning from Endicott College and serves as a senior curriculum developer for Sparkhouse, creating learner-centered resources and experiences for children, youth and adults. Michael, his wife Michele, and children, Angelo and Abrielle, live in Elgin, Illinois.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By K. Reed on October 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shaped by the Story: Helping Students Encounter God in a New Way

I run a youth group in a rural town in Maine where Christianity is not the norm. So my ministry is more about evangelism than discipleship. I have roughly 15 kids coming every week for pizza, soda, and hide-n-seek in an ancient church building. They love it!

What they don't love is hearing about God. I've tried so many different approaches, but nothing seemed to work... Until I came across this book.

Michael Novelli lays out a method that is great for both believers and non-believers. We tell the stories of the Bible, the ones we heard in Sunday School and forgot about, and then we retell them. Afterwards we discuss them. Then we key in on what we learn about God from these stories. Through this, the group will learn to see Scripture as one larger story. And then they will have a context for any further teaching (systematic, spiritual formation, etc.). I am learning so much - even after 23 years of being a Christian (and my time in Bible College).

I would strongly suggest to anyone working with youth - get this book (and check out Novelli's website with free stuff - [...])!We're only into our 3rd week of storying, but the group is getting more involved with the bible than I've EVER seen in 13 years of youth ministry.

There's only one caveat - Novelli seems to be friendly with the emergent camp. He points to the likes of Brian McClaren and others (he has a list of 4 or 5) as great teachers. I'm not sure what he means by that exactly, but it certainly makes me a bit leary. Fortunately, emergent theological leanings or not, Novelli's method works! And you can choose your own stories from the Bible to work with. I know I have.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Holley on May 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book and the DVD is such a bonus. It was great to see them go through the storying process and seeing the youth really get into God's story. It makes such great sense to me. We have not tried out the process of storying yet, but I am very excited about the possibility.
Here is a little snipit from the book that I really liked:

"We need to stop tryinig to fit God into our lives and stories and realize that God desires us to play a role in his Story instead. As subtle a difference as it may seem, the shift in perspective changes everything. When we see ourselves as a part of God's Story---as to opposed to God being a part of our stories--it awakens us to live in a broader reality, to live for and contribute to something bigger than ourselves.

Furthermore, fitting God into our own stories seems akin to trying to create our own realities--revolving around our own desires--as we ask God to bless our actions. We then invest time and resources trying to find out how the Bible is relevant to our lives instead of trying to discover and pursue how we might become more relevant to God's Story already in progress.

God doesn't have a relevance issue - -we do!

Again, Eugene Peterson describes this so well:

The Christian life is not about us; it is about God. Christian spirituality is not a life-project for becoming a better person, it is not about developing a so-called "deeper life". We are in on it, to be sure. But we are not the subject. Nor are we the action. . .The great weakness of North American spirituality is that it is all about us: fulfilling our potential, getting in on the blessings of God, expanding our influence, finding our gifts, getting a handle on principles by which we can get an edge over the competition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Luttrell on November 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The ideas presented in this book are a good introduction to leading Bible discussions for young people. But perhaps I'm way ahead of our times since I always use storytelling, so this book seemed like very basic stuff to me.

He discusses how in a world that communicates electronically through media and less through text, that we use symbols and stories to help communicate more effectively today. Therefore, he discusses the importance of telling stories of the Bible. When telling Bible stories, he tries to capture people's imaginations by telling the stories in a compelling, interesting way that is also faithful to Scripture. In addition, his method involves active listening using one's imagination, helping people retell the story for themselves, and then thinking about what are some new things in the story that they are now aware of. Then, he leads a somewhat typical discussion helping people to get into the meaning of story. I did like his process questions which look like:
What questions do you have?
What do you wonder about?
What stood out to you, maybe for the first time?
What picture did you see in your mind?
What did the character really want?
What did they do right? Do wrong?
What were the consequences?
Why is this an impt lesson for us?
What do you learn about God?
Where do you see this story reflected in the world? Your life?

I also liked the idea of using symbols to link each weekly "episode" to each other and the larger picture, so that people remember the past stories and can see how they all link together.
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