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home > teacher's toolbox > storytelling to adult groups

Storytelling to adult groups

Godly Play® and Faith & Play can be used effectively, with a period of wondering and with or without a work time, in some all-adult settings.  Wondering questions may need to be slightly modified, and new ones that are especially appropriate to the setting and group can be asked.  A few of the many situations or settings where stories might be told to adults include

  • a committee meeting devoted to a specific task, such as the discernment of gifts within the committee (telling the Faith & Play Gifts story)
  • an inquirers’ class
  • a retreat
  • a class exploring spiritual disciplines or ways of reading the Bible
  • a group of teachers gathering at the start or close of the First Day School year
  • a parent support group or session on parenting
  • an activities session at a nursing home

Generally, adults will welcome the opportunity to shift out of their usual discursive and analytical modes of discourse if given a vehicle and a reason.

As when telling a Faith & Play story multigenerationally, the storyteller may remind adults that they will cheat themselves out of the full Faith & Play experience if they fall into critiquing the philosophy or technique. 

It may help to explain that the method was designed for children between the ages of 3 and 12 and that children older than that, who are more self-conscious and have lost some of their ability to wonder, tend to feel the approach is child’s play.  However, it is important to add, the approach tends to work beautifully with adults who are able to let go of judgements and inhibitions and who will allow themselves to enter freely into the stories and the wondering.

Even adults who have been Friends for many years, or who are very familiar with the Bible, may have surprising, even startling, insights when experiencing a Faith & Play or Godly Play® story. 

One adult who experienced a Faith & Play story in an all-adult setting once said, “I think this uses a different part of the brain!”  Another adult, upon experiencing Godly Play for the first time, found himself retelling the story and meditatively moving story pieces in his mind for hours afterwards, continuing the wondering on his own.