While many outreach programs, such as Introducing God, take a systematic look at God, Jesus and the Bible, this course uses a Biblical theology to outline the Bible's major turning points. Developed by Andrew Bawden in partnership with the Bible Society and SU Victoria, the course fills a unique void in presenting the metanarrative of the Bible.
Why it worked
Imagine you buy a movie on DVD. You take it home, put it in your DVD player and press "play." You expect it to start at the beginning and work through to the end credits.
But your new DVD goes on a random scene mode, jumping around sections of the movie. How hard would it be to understand the movie? You might get some idea of the climax of the movie, or end credits or other parts but it would be very difficult to understand its central themes.
Often this is how many people come to the Bible: they might know the 10 Commandments or stories like David and Goliath or Noah and the flood, or they might know the Christmas and Easter stories, but they don't understand how it all fits together.
The Big Picture series helps them make that link. In a dynamic and pastoral way, it takes people through God's rescue story, outlining the problem of sin and God's solution in Jesus.
Part of the series' appeal is the huge visual aid which displays the major books that contribute to the Bible's central storyline. Having the massive display on the stage helps the participant's journey along these turning points, seeing how the Old Testament covenants point forward to Jesus. The course also has a workbook and a smaller visual aid to help if the course is run as a Bible study.
Where it has worked
The course has been run in various schools and churches throughout Melbourne but this is the first time run in the Geelong/Moorabool area. The course has had an impact both for regular Moorabool attendees and also visitors. The series is part of Moorabool's hope to give everyone in the community the opportunity to respond to Jesus' message to follow Him.
Big Picture Case Study
John has been going to church most of his life but The Big Picture series has, for the first time, helped him understand the central message of the Bible. For example, John has always been fascinated by the second coming of Jesus.
This series showed that the return of Jesus will not make sense unless you understand His first coming (as explained in the Gospels). And His first coming will not make full sense unless you understand the promises of His coming revealed in the Old Testament. The course has been a gem in showing John God's story of salvation.
Judy has not been to church for years. But after seeing the course advertised in the local paper decided to "take a look." The course has made her start to read her Bible again as she looks at the stories and makes the link to Jesus.
Whether the Bible is something new or something you read every day, one of the secrets is understanding how it all comes together. This course has been a challenge to see God's central plan, revealed to us in the Bible. And how this plan impacts us.
Next time you read the Bible ask yourself, "How does this passage fit into the larger Bible storyline?" And, "How does God's plan transform my life plan?" For more information see biblicalturningpoints.com.au
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and pastor of mooraboolchurch.org
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html