Bible Story Jam

We’ve grown pretty accustomed in the church to having someone – usually a pastor – teach us what the Bible means. Maybe that’s during the sermon or, if we’re adventurous or have extra time on our hands, during the an adult education class.

But what would happen if we didn’t?

Don’t get me wrong – I think pastors are great. But I think we’ve sometimes let our pastors become kind of a crutch for us when it comes to reading the Bible. And I worry that over the long haul, we may actually lose confidence that we can read the Bible.

Which is where the Bible Story Jam comes in. What is the Bible Story Jam you ask? Easy. It’s a morning — I suppose it could be an afternoon, but this time it’s a morning 🙂 — where folks come together to gather in small groups, talk about a particular story out of the Bible, and then share our insights, our questions, what we noticed, and what we thought. That’s it – everyday Christians with little or no theological training reading and talking about what the Bible means to them. (What a concept!)

But it doesn’t end there. Because we’re going to tape these conversations and edit them together so that we have a video commentary of ordinary, everyday people talking about the Bible. And then we’re going to share those videos on, a site pastors go to to do sermon preparation work. Because this way thousands of pastors – and tens of thousands of their hearers – might learn from what everyday Christians see and hear in the Bible.

And who knows, maybe more and more everyday Christians will come to believe that they can read the Bible too, and understand it, and even enjoy it.

Below is our first Bible Story Jam video. It was kind of a dry run before we do our first whole morning Bible Story Jam and, quite frankly, the women who volunteered to help us blew me away.

Their passage was Luke 41-52, the story of Jesus as a boy in the Temple. As a preacher, let me tell you, I’ve never found that one very easy to preach. Not a whole lot happens, quite frankly, and I wasn’t quite sure how it applied to our lives. But after hearing these folks talk, all kinds of ideas started bubbling up.

And that’s what happens when we share our insights and questions: we have more, and then more, and then more, and then all of a sudden this Bible story is with us, helping us think about our lives even as we’re thinking about this story.

Because here’s the thing: anyone can read the Bible. Anyone.

Even you. 🙂

Note: 1) If you are receiving this post by email, you may need to click here to watch the video.
2) We’ve worked with a great team from Luther Seminary and Bethlehem Lutheran Church to pull off the Bible Story Jam. Thanks to them all, and special thanks to Ben Cieslik, pastor, dad, videographer, and editor extraordinaire.
3) Partial funding for the Bible Story Jam came from a grant to Luther Seminary from the Lilly Endowment.We are most grateful!