New children’s book brings the early church to life

Pastor Bruce Manners (right) prays at the launch of Outside the Gate with author David Edgren and book editor Nathan Brown (left).

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According to author and storyteller David Edgren, telling stories through the experiences of young people in the Bible helps our children understand God’s Word. Mr Edgren spoke about his passion for communicating the story of Jesus to kids at the launch of his new book Outside the Gate at the Adventist Book Centre in Melbourne on Sunday, March 6.

“Jesus’ story is alive and active in each of us when we make it real in how we treat those around us,” says Mr Edgren, who is now author of 10 books and has been regularly sharing these stories in churches over the past few years.

Published by Signs Publishing, Outside the Gate tells the story of Rhoda, the servant girl remembered in Acts 12 for leaving Peter standing at the gate after his miraculous release from prison. The story imagines the details of that night, narrating how Rhoda might have experienced the early church as she prepared the Lord’s Supper for the praying disciples—then becoming a member of God’s family and servant to her community, not only her household.

Written for six- to 12-year-olds, Outside the Gate brings the spirit of the early church to life, showing how they remembered Jesus at every meal and met the needs of the poor in their communities. “In our churches, the communion service is often so ritualised that kids watch without understanding,” Mr Edgren says. “I wanted them to ‘get it’ through the head, heart and hands of a child. Through the Lord’s Supper, Rhoda understands, feels and experiences Jesus’ gift on the cross all at once.”

“Dave is a creative and engaging storyteller, and we appreciate working with him to create books that are a resource for families to read together,” says Nathan Brown, book editor at Signs Publishing. “These books are great stories, but they also include questions to spur conversations and go deeper into the Bible truths that they present.”

Following on from the themes of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection in his earlier books The Perfect Lamb (2013) and Just Believe (2021), Mr Edgren’s desire for Outside the Gate is for kids to see that “Jesus came to our sinful world to save us all. Now we are the sent ones. Keeping the body, blood and righteousness of Jesus to ourselves is crazy!”

The first two of these books have been used by the Adventist Church in Romania for sharing the stories of Jesus. Tens of thousands of copies of the Romanian-language editions of these books have been given to school children across the nation and the Romanian Adventist publishing house—Viata Si Sănătate—have recently licensed the Romanian rights to Outside the Gate.

Outside the Gate and other books by Mr Edgren are available from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand or online.

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