Bible (and science) to the rescue
What’s more scientific than your pocket calculator, more colourful than an explosion of fireworks, and able to teach the Bible to a room full of children in a single morning? It’s Bible Woman!
Known more commonly by her alter ego Michelle Lucas, Bible Woman currently serves at St Philip’s, Caringbah alongside her compatriot Gospel Guy (aka Ian Naylor). The heroic ministry at the church was begun by Daniel Smith, Ms Lucas’ predecessor as Bible Man. The passing of the mantle, like the arc of many a good Bible story, was a story of redemption.
“Daniel was the first to don the cape, but he’s since pursued other ministry elsewhere, so I decided I’d better step in along with my sidekick Gospel Guy,” Ms Lucas says. “I was actually originally there as a villain – that was how he was training me to replace him – but then, of course, I switched sides and continued as Bible Woman.”
Not only do Bible Woman and Gospel Guy help to teach the Bible, they often incorporate science experiments to draw on Ms Lucas’ twin careers as a chemical engineer and science teacher.
“I’ve always had a passion for chemistry and engineering – I spent about 15 years working in the petrochemical industry,” Ms Lucas says. “I’ve transitioned into teaching mostly for a new challenge, but also teaching in a Christian school opens new and different opportunities from a mission perspective.
“Obviously you can evangelise wherever you are but teaching has been very encouraging, being able to teach science in a Christian way, rather than just looking at the cold hard facts. Being able to pray with kids before exams and things is fantastic.”
A typical appearance by Bible Woman and Gospel Guy is fairly similar to the kids’ talk of many churches, with the added flair of brightly coloured capes and a scientific miracle, all pointing to God’s glory in creation and the Bible.
“It’s fairly skit-based,” Ms Lucas says. “We have our own theme music with the kids gathered at the front; we zoom in with our capes to have some fun and share with them the memory verse for the week.
“We integrate some basic science activities as well so recently, for the feeding of the 5000, we were aiming to convey the idea that you can get a lot from a little... We did the elephant toothpaste experiment with potassium permanganate, where you have a big result from a small chemical reaction. The aim is always to illustrate biblical truths while showing kids that science is interesting and fun.”
For Ms Lucas, the integration of science with ministry, particularly ministry to children and young people, is important in a world that often pits the faith and science against each other.
“I think one of the biggest myths is that Christianity and science are in opposition,” she says. “We are told to worship in spirit and truth, to renew our minds, and so I think our faith shouldn’t be blind but centred on knowledge and critical thinking. It’s important we pursue the truth and knowledge of Christ, and also I think we model that to young people, because otherwise we’re creating barriers to people wanting to pursue those avenues for entering a relationship with Christ.”