The Hesston College Bible and Ministry Center will offer “Learning the Bible in Life-Giving Ways: History, Hooks, and Heilsgeschichte,”

The Hesston College Bible and Ministry Center will offer “Learning the Bible in Life-Giving Ways: History, Hooks, and Heilsgeschichte,” a weekend conference to help participants learn the biblical story, Friday through Sunday at Hesston Mennonite Church. The conference is part of the college’s “Living the Vision” Centennial celebration during the 2009-10 academic year.

The conference, the 13th event in the college’s Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series, is designed as a concentrated version of Hesston’s popular signature course, “Introduction to Biblical Literature,” or Bib Lit, taught by Marion Bontrager and Michele Hershberger. “Heilsgeschichte” — salvation history — is an important term in both the Hesston Bib Lit class and in the conference. In less than two days, Bontrager and Hershberger will lead participants through the entire Bible story. The goal of the conference is to give participants the opportunity to learn the overall biblical story in two days.

“Everyone knows the stories — Noah and the flood, David and Goliath, Jesus walking on the water,” conference speaker Michele Hershberger said, “but many people don’t know how to fit these stories together in a way that makes sense as one whole narrative. We hope that this conference will give them the tools to appreciate the whole story.”

While some earlier AVDS conferences were geared primarily for church leaders, this year’s conference is being planned for anyone who wishes to get a better grasp of the Bible story.

“This conference is about the Bible itself, rather than about how to teach the Bible,” Marion Bontrager said. “Many people find the Bible an intimidating book, and hard to understand. We want this conference to open up the meaning of Bible without dumbing down its message. The Bible is the story of God solving the sin problem. At the center is the person and the ethic of Jesus Christ.”

The conference’s third participant, Ted Swartz, is best known for his work with the late Lee Eshleman, with whom he created Ted and Lee TheaterWorks. Swartz’s most recent production is the play “What Would Lloyd Do?” a comedy-drama about a church with no members. At “Learning the Bible” Swartz will perform a few well-known Bible skits and some improvisations, with the assistance of students and staff from the college.

Conference participants are urged to stay for the entire conference in order to appreciate the salvation story as a whole. The schedule for the weekend and online registration information ($120/individual or $100/person for groups of three or more) are available at Registration and more information also are available through Elaine Schmidt, Hesston College Bible and Ministry Center, at (620) 327-8290.