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Many established church goers and the new-to-church find talk only teaching a challenge. It's not just about adapting your methods and building for the hearing impaired (though that's an essential) it's about communicating the Bible in a way that's efficiently absorbed, understood and applied.
Multi-Sensory Bible give you 15 fully worked out and resourced sessions to engage a wider range of congregations through sight, touch, smell and taste as well as sound. Each session follows a consistent and well planned 'menu style' format with timings, a choice of activities, photocopiable resources and encouraging ideas to take your multi-sensory experience of God beyond your church walls.
Multi-Sensory Bible by Terry Clutterham was published by Scripture Union in September 2012 and is our 840th best seller. The ISBN for Multi-Sensory Bible is 9781844276219.
1. Oh yes! - Creation (Genesis 1,2; Psalm 8; 104:1–15,24,25; John 1:1–5; Colossians 1:15–20)
2. Oh no! - The fall (Genesis 3)
3. Setting off - Abraham (Genesis 12:1–9; Hebrews 11:8–12)
4. The shape of rescues to come - The plagues, the Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 6:1–8; 10:1–20; 11:1–10; 12:29–42; 14:10–31)
5. The only way is up - Wanderings and laws (Exodus 19:3–6; 20:1–17; Leviticus 9)
6. In too deep? - Jordan, Promised Land and judges (Deuteronomy 8:6–11; Joshua 14:1–5; 21:43–45; Judges 2:10–23; 10:6–16; 11:29–32; 21:25)
7. They did it their way - Kings and queen of Judah and Israel (1 Samuel 13:1–15; 15:1–11; 31:1–13; 2 Samuel 5:1–10; 7:1–16; 11:1–17; 1 Kings 3:1–15; 5:1–7; 11:1–13,41–43; 1 Chronicles 29:10–20)
8. Down, down, down, up - The exile (Isaiah 51:3; 55:6–13; 2 Kings 25:8–21; Psalm 137)
9. Not exactly home and dry - The Jews return from exile (Ezra 1:1–6; 3:8–13; Haggai 1:3–15; 2:6–9; Malachi 4:1–6)
10. Promise fulfilled - The birth and ministry of Jesus (Matthew 1:1–24; Luke 7:18–35)
11. Moment of victory - Jesus’ death and resurrection (Matthew 27:32–66; 28:1–20; Philippians 2:1–11)
12. Upwards and onwards - Jesus’ ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:36–53; Acts 1:1–11; 2:1–13)
13. Man on a mission - Paul (Acts 13,14)
14. Solid foundations - The early church (Matthew 4:24–29; Ephesians 2:11–22; Colossians 2:6,7)
15. Totally glorious! - Jesus’ return (Isaiah 65:17–25; 2 Peter 3:3–15; Revelation 21,22)
"‘The Multi-Sensory Bible’ gives you all you need to connect creatively with God’s dynamic plan. Fifteen ready made sessions break the mould of talk-only teaching, and present the Bible’s message through images, activities, sounds and even tastes and smells. Fully photocopiable, each session gives you a complete menu-style plan with all the resources and timings you need to make a success of your mixed ability, group worship session."
People learn in many different ways. Some of us take things in simply by listening to someone speaking, but most struggle to do so. They need to see or taste or smell or touch, if they are to learn and if their learning is to be memorable for them. In your group you’ll have a mix of people and therefore a range of learning preferences. It’s up to you as leader to get to know your group members well enough to understand how they prefer to learn, and then to tailor the variety of learning experiences so that there’s always something for everyone. Be careful not just to use your own favourite learning approach all the time! Read carefully through all the activities in each Bible session before deciding which to choose – don’t just go for those you like the look of straight away, or that are the easiest to prepare!
Terry Clutterham is Director of Ministry Development for Scripture Union and has wide experience in helping children and young people engage with the Bible. He describes himself as having long been crazy about helping people explore the full breadth of the Bible and hearing God speak for themselves through it.
Educated at The University of Bristol, University of Hull and Paston School, North Walsham, Terry was a teacher and previously worked for CPAS. He’s also worked for Christian Education Publications in Sydney. In addition he is a member of the Children Matter! Executive and a speaker at Family Ministry’s ‘Hand in Hand’ conferences. His many other books include the children and teens Bible series ‘Top Tips’, ‘The Adventure Begins’, ‘Word Up’ and ‘Absolutely Everything’.
What does ‘multi-sensory’ mean? The origins and main use of the word comes from teaching young children – multi-sensory learning/teaching. The teaching practice encourages learning through all 5 senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. Using a multisensory approach means providing a variety of activities so that all these senses are stimulated (but not necessarily at the same time.)
Using this approach opens the creative box. With the resource, ‘Multi-Sensory Bible’, you’ll find some incredibly inventive methods, ideas and activities for teaching the Bible as one big story. Here’s how each multi-sensory session is broken up:
GETTING CONNECTED – The Icebreaker Bit (approx 10–15 minutes)
This encourages your group to get involved and share together from the very beginning. It will also connect them to the overall theme of the session. Also, it’s a great time for refreshments and nibbles.
LIVING SCRIPTURE – The Bible Bit (approx 40–45 minutes)
Everyone touches and looks at a Bible. The more versions the better! This section is all about making something that express the Bible passage. For example – the first session on creation involves 7 balloons for each day of creation, creating a wonderfully colourful visual display of the passage.
TOUCHING GOD – The Reflection Bit (approx 15–20 minutes)
Your group will be encouraged to use their senses to reflect on what they have just heard from God and explore it deeper. For example – Scripture Union provide a poem on their website to read, then the group are encouraged to write their own whilst listening to reflective music.
REACHING OUT – The Social Action Bit (approx 15–20 minutes)
Very often, church group resources become very self-involved shutting the doors and focusing on themselves. Not this resource. Often including an idea for a social activity or small outreach project, this section encourages your group to do more than just sitting on your bums. For example – bring and share picnic in the most beautiful place in your area.
DIGGING DEEPER – The Homework Bit
The final section includes activities for your group to tackle between sessions, either to go further with what you have just discovered together, or to help them get ready for the next session.
For too long hearing has been the only sense catered for in church worship. And in many churches, talk is still the primary delivery system for Christian teaching. It’s surprising then that churches have been so slow to adapt buildings for those whose sense of hearing is impaired. Though now, thankfully, most churches have installed the necessary technology to provide for a wider range of hearing ability.
Even so, this still assumes that hearing the best way for the vast majority of church attendees to absorb, remember and apply the meaning of the words they hear. From his wide experience – especially of working with young people, Terry Clutterham opens up the other four senses of church congregations to receive and retain the Bible’s message. His starting point is that people learn in different ways. For some, listening is easy. But for more people than we care to acknowledge, listening is a real struggle.
This isn’t just about the mechanics of the auditory process. Even people with perfect hearing in acoustically faultless auditoriums can find listening a challenge. Sound simply not a medium that engages to the exclusion of the other four senses. But tied together with – or even replaced by, a combination of sight, touch, smell and taste, and many experiences become unforgettable, influential and even life changing. Of course the early church builders knew this already, which is why they invested so much effort and art in evocative architecture and emotive stain glass imagery.
‘The Multi Sensory Bible’ begins with what it’s all about: connection. Every session creates the opportunity and means for regularly worshippers and the new-to-church to connect with each other and the biblical material that will form the core of the session. As Terry points out, this is a great time for the sensation of taste to play a crucial role with the inclusion of light snacks, drinks or refreshments. Add a little imagination, and this could easily be tailored to fit the theme of the session. Using the reliable and digestible NIV, the longest multi-sensory exposure is to the Bible itself.
Often a choice of activities is offered, so there’s bound to be one or too well fitted to your gathering and situation. The resources pages for this and very part of each session come with full permission to photocopy. Connecting with God is what this section is all about – and you can’t tell God which senses to use. You can be sure God will reach every individual through the sense that makes them most aware of him, which is why this multi sensory approach is so important.
Reaching out to others extends your worship beyond the group you have gathered to together. Each session includes ideas for drawing other into your fellowship. Some ideas are about getting together to share interests and activities, but Multi-Sensory Bible is very much a resource for this generation and this modern age. Ideas for sharing beyond the church also cover the technologies of the internet and social media.
Just like Multi-Sensory worship can’t be limited to your church walls, neither can it be limited to just your usual church day. Terry’s ‘Digging ‘Deeper’ section rounds off each session with encouragement to go further in their exploration of the Bible, it’s meaning and application, or to get ready for the next. It’s the flexibility and extendibility of this style of inclusive accessible worship that will bring the Bible into a living reality for many who feel excluded in talk-only worship service. Getting people to fully take part – using all their senses, is the best way to get them to fully respond to God – using all their God given gifts. – Les Ellison.
|Author / Artist||Terry Clutterham|
|Publisher||Scripture Union (September 2012)|
|Number of Pages||80|
|Page last updated||16th April 2018|