By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
FORT DETRICK, MD––The group of about 20 people at Fort Detrick’s chapel, were all smiles as they pointed to the left and said, “Jerusalem,” and pretended to ride on donkeys, held their hands to the side and yelled “crucified” then up in the air yelling “resurrection,” with a few “Hallelujah’s” thrown in. Kids? No, these were adults learning the New Testament through a “Walk Thru the Bible” seminar, but having just as much fun as kids.
Walk Thru the Bible events are highly interactive lessons that take learners through a large portion of the Bible in a short time, “connecting the dots,” and giving participants an overview of the big picture.
The five-hour highly participative seminars take participants on a “walk” through the places and events in Bible times. Students meet the major characters and understand the chronological order and the connection between them.
The New Testament seminar at Fort Detrick covered the 400 years of silence between the Testaments when God was preparing the world for the coming of Christ, continued with the birth and life of Christ to his death and resurrection, and beyond to Acts and the Epistles.
Leaders use a variety of methods to help participants understand and remember. There’s rhyme: “counting the cost, seeking the lost;” “Lazarus raised, Zacchaeus praised.” Alliteration is used: “triumphal entry, temple cleansing.”
Pictures offer visuals – John the Apostle was portrayed by a large J, with a light switch, painting the sun – showing John, the apostle who wrote that God is light.
“John gives an intimate portrait of Christ,” Keith Hammer, executive pastor of Riva Trace Church in Annapolis, explains.
And of course, there are the physical movements.
It is a sensory experience and Hammer obviously enjoys tying it all together.
He is excited as he explains how the money changers took advantage of the visiting Jews, how those who washed feet were the lowly servants. He enjoys explaining the background stories to illuminate the truth and application of God’s Word.
Hammer is a trained facilitator and conducts up to 20 seminars each year.
As executive pastor at Riva Trace, Hammer said he saw that an increasing number of those who attend church no longer have much of a biblical background.
In addition, “You so seldom get the big picture perspective… we tend to get disconnected pieces of a jigsaw puzzle… this tells the continuous unfolding story.
“It’s very life giving. The light bulb goes on and people have more of a desire to ‘dig in’ on their own. It’s also very non-intimidating… and a lot of fun.”
The live-events are available for adults, youth and children. Students also receive accompanying workbooks that are designed with them in mind.
For more information about the program, contact Hammer at (443) 994-9897 or email@example.com or visit Walk-Thru-the-Bible http://www.walkthru.org.