Broken Arrow Church Brings Book To Life

Sunday, February 15th 2009, 4:40 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Leaders of the Abiding Harvest Church in Broken Arrow say they've found the secret to doubling their attendance. It's all because of the bestselling book, The Shack.

Using the lessons of a fictional novel as the centerpiece of a church sermon is unusual, but the church took it a step further. They're recreating the story onstage, every week.

"We just see new faces every week, of people that are coming with curiosity," said Chris Buskirk, Abiding Harvest Pastor.

Kimberly Green started showing up just last month.

"I think today that when you work with the traditional church model, you tend to get a little bored. And so you want to come someplace that inspires you," said Kimberly Green, church member.

The church recently gave away hundreds of copies of The Shack, but that wasn't enough. So, to bring the bestseller's lessons about spirituality to life, the pastor brought The Shack to life.

"If you're reading along in the book, you know what's happening. The Shack has flowers out in front and that's because of what's happening in the book," said Sarah Thompson, church member.

The Shack is about a father whose youngest daughter is abducted and killed during a family vacation. Years later, he receives an anonymous note in the mail, inviting him back to the same spot. It tackles issues of faith and redemption.

"I think the book gives you a picture of God that gets past the usual screens of religiosity," said Pastor Buskirk. "People can really grasp it, much more than they can diagrams on a Sunday school class board."

Buskirk addresses a chapter a week. He says attendance has doubled since he has started the series devoted to The Shack.

Buskirk calls it a new way of expressing the old questions about death, justice and the power of God.

The Shack has spent 10 months on the New York Times Best Seller list. The author of the book, William Young, will be speaking at the Mabee Center on April 2nd.