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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Nooma

Odds are if you're under 40, you've heard of Rob Bell and his Nooma video series. Founding pastor of Mars Hill Church, Grand Rapids, Mich., Bell is considered one of the best preachers of what could be called a postmodern style — a blend of art, video, music and storytelling in service of the gospel.

Nooma is an outstanding, multigenerational introduction of how media can elevate worship without becoming the focus. An ideal opportunity would be midweek Lenten services. With 24 videos, one can easily put together a series addressing Lenten disciplines to the weekly lectionary themes. One approach is to use the video in place of the sermon and then later in small groups or in the Christian education hour using the supplied study guides.

In my experience, a large group time of reflection has brought youth and older adults together to speak about faith, life and death, the love of Christ, and the purpose of the church in ways I haven't seen before. Bell's style of delivery and solid biblical theology grounded in the unconditional grace of God in Christ consistently draws people in to consider what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

Bell and Nooma aren't without their detractors, but there is little question that this is a resource to help test the waters of media-based worship, an example of effective postmodern preaching, and a gospel message that can bring your congregation together in worship and in conversation around the Bible.


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