My first encounter with Ed Dobson was in 1993 when I read Starting a Seeker Sensitive Service. Pastor Emeritus of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, you may have run across Dobson in his 2009 book, The Year of Living Like Jesus: My Journey of Discovering What Jesus Would Really Do.
My most recent encounter with Ed Dobson was at The Story conference in Chicago. As his session began…it was immediately obvious that something had happened. In the first sentence or two I learned that he had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). For the next ten minutes or so, I heard…and observed…the damage of the disease. Amazingly, I also heard…and observed…the power of God.
Flannel’s 2011 release of Ed’s Story: A Film Series about Hope (1-3), a mesmerizing example of story-driven visual-media, pulls you steadily into the story. A series of short films (five of seven are currently finished and separately available as 1-3 and 4-5), each one tells a piece of the story and all of them are very immersive. Something about the pacing, the intelligent spacing of speech to video (almost like white space) and the camera placement and shot selection itself, create a backdrop against which an irrepressible hope stands firm. Sometimes all the description in the world fails what a sample will do. You can watch the first short film right here.
Ed’s Story wrestles with the issues suffering raises: worry, identity, forgiveness, gratitude, and healing. Accompanied by a personal reflection guide, there is a powerful discussion to be had. Although deeply biblical, this isn’t your typical set of small group questions complete with directly referenced scripture. While a leader’s guide would help ensure direction, the video content along with a thought-provoking set of discussion questions will open the door for some very memorable meetings.
This is a powerful experience; one that I want my group to have. I have a feeling you’ll want your groups to have it, too.
Can’t see the video? You can watch it right here.