Because Adults need Storytime Too

Storytime devotions are one of my favorites to lead with groups, (they quickly became a highlight of trips to FireUP, with our whole group in pajamas in the Suttons' living room, hearing the story and then making it connect to our faith) and last night I had the chance to lead one with adults. I've used storybooks before with adult groups, but as part of workshops, not as a devotional time.

We had a dinner to celebrate the adults on our Youth Leadership and Church School teams, and my good friend and colleague Marty Chapman asked me to provide devotions at the end.

The lectionary yesterday morning gave me a gem to work with: Colossians 1:9-14.

"9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

I wanted to talk about being filled with the Spirit and imagining the fruit we can produce with that power inside us. So I read Mercer Mayer's "When I Grow Up," which is all about Little Critter's little sister dreaming about all the things she wants to be when she grows up. I shared the connection between the verse and the message of the story.

At the very beginning I'd lit a collage candle (a candle with photos of our youth group glued to the outside; really pretty when it's burning becuase the light from inside shines through the pictures) and I placed it in the center of the room and asked all the adults to share what fruit they felt called to produce in their lives this year. When each one shared, he/she picked up the candle and held it, so we knew who was speaking.

Then the adults paired up (and just like with kids, they either went for people they knew best or the person sitting in the next seat) and blessed each other. To write the blessing for them, I'd taken the action phrases straight from the Colossians passage, so what they read was this:

"Be filled-- with God.
Live worthy-- of God.
Bear fruit-- for God.
Be made strong-- by God.
Endure patiently-- in God.
Joyfully give thanks-- to God."

Simple, powerful visuals, participation and a challenge to make them think were the keys to this adult devotion.

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