Skip to content
Students at commencement

Biblical Fluency

First Lutheran Church

Location: White Bear Lake, Minn.
Denomination: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Size: 700 average weekly worship attendance

 Download First Lutheran's VCP report or see report contents below:

Ministry context
First Lutheran is a 125-year old church grounded in the Bible with a focus on loving Jesus, growing as disciples, and serving others. We are a multi-generational family, with two distinct styles of worship on Sunday mornings – traditional and contemporary. Our church is in an upper-middle class suburban setting, with many churches, including Lutheran, in a 5-mile radius.
Pre-existing practices

1. The Big God Story – Story of God, Story of Us

This is something like the narrative lectionary, modified to fit our context and expanded to be more than just a Sunday morning sermon series. The emphasis is on learning the overarching story of the Bible and learning to find our place in it.

The Big God Story experience has been very well received so far. It’s generated quite a bit of “buzz” and we’re seeing early returns that people are learning the Bible story (in the singular). We’ve got lots of ground left to cover and lots of repetition and reinforcement to do, but it’s a great start.

2. Weekly Study Guide

The majority of our small groups use a curriculum that our pastors write each week to connect with the passages we learn from on Sunday mornings. This has become one more dimension of The Big God Story.

3. Audio Resource and Big God Story Blog

This is an audio podcast and blog that give people more opportunities to receive input and interact with the Big God Story.

Discoveries from listening process

1. Biblical Literacy Lacking

Our congregation seems to be more shallow in Biblical literacy than we originally thought. We noted that for our members, Biblical significance or importance is different than Biblical literacy.

2. Bible Engaged when Needed

While there is great importance placed on the Bible, engagement with the Bible is not at a true personal level, or only when needed.