Monday, April 22, 2024

Out of the Box stories and Psalm 23 in worship

Out of the Box uses story and play for personal and community wellbeing. The telling of stories creates relational spaces to breathe, trust, listen, feel, wonder, play and love. There are 49 wisdom stories, that include Bible stories, along with life, nature, history and art.

OutoftheBox stories can be used in a range of settings, including schools, care homes, workplaces, community groups, families, therapeutic settings, chaplaincy, spiritual accompaniment and faith communities.

I experimented and used the Out of the Box Psalm 23 story in a congregational setting this week. I’ve used Godly play before but this was the first time with OutoftheBox. It was also the first time for the congregation, who are small in number and mostly elderly. But warm in spirit and usually up for things being a bit different. I was delighted with the feedback. Three commments stand out

  • People said they liked that the objects made the story real
  • People said that they liked that it allowed them to be childlike
  • People engaged, particularly around what it meant to have enemies shown love and mercy

Delivery wise, because the lectionary reading was Psalm 23, I had chosen to be rostered on for the Old Testament reading. I said I was going to use OutoftheBox and briefly introduced it as a way of sharing story.

The church has solid wooden pews, so I brought along a camping table and placed it in the centre of aisle. That ensured the story could be told at eye height. There was a delightful shuffle of people in their seats as I brought out the first object and people moved so they could see.

Because it was new, and I wasn’t sure how if or how long people would share for around the wondering questions, I also had a short sermon, based on the John 10:11-18 reading. It worked really well because I began by talking about how we can play with the objects in OutoftheBox and that the Gospel reading was playing also with Psalm 23, placing Jesus as the shepherd etc. Given we had just experienced that – as we had moved the enemy sheep during the OutoftheBox – it seemed to create lots of connections.

Then during the prayers for others, I invited people to select an object from OutoftheBox. I had three from the Psalm 23 story – leaves, water, shadows.  We began the prayers for others by holding the object and praying for ourselves or others who might need rest, restoration and comfort. It provided an avenue for further engagement and working with the feelings surfaced by the story.

Posted by steve at 04:04 PM


  1. I love that Steve ????

    Comment by Sandy — April 23, 2024 @ 11:04 am

  2. I’d love to learn more about your OutoftheBox ideas. Have you written about it in your book Built for change? Thanks

    Comment by sally Shaw — April 24, 2024 @ 3:24 pm

  3. Hi Sally,
    Thanks for dropping by.
    It’s the first time I’ve used Out of the Box. I hope to keep exploring it in the next few months and will blog here if I do,

    Cheers, Steve

    Comment by Steve — April 24, 2024 @ 10:07 pm

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