From the Student Ministry….

Being Better Storytellers

A few weeks ago, during the Wednesday night prayer meeting–inspired by Passport Camp’s theme: Story–I spoke about how we have our own part in telling the Gospel story. For my final article I wanted to revisit that idea.

I love great storytellers. Venturing not too far out on a limb here, I’ll say confidently I am not alone in this. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard someone be criticized for being able to tell a good tale– “You know, I’d be alright with Stephen…that is if his anecdotes weren’t so darn captivating” –See, that sentence just doesn’t make sense. We all love to be told a good story. Good stories don’t just give us information, they give us emotion, they give us perspective, they give us opportunity to be changed; and great stories use truth to do it. 

Story tellers, then, are given a chance to affect others with truth and change. As keepers and purveyors of the Gospel, we bear the greatest story ever told–to quote Pastor Jim’s sermon a couple Sundays back. We don’t have to take time to come up with a better story; that’s been taken care of. We are supposed to take time to become better storytellers. But, also, we are supposed to help others become better storytellers as well. You can look at them being our personal and our communal/community, church, mission, respectively.

To become a better storyteller we have to understand how God fits into the world for us and everyone equally. What I mean is that God is reaching out and presenting the Gospel just as fervently to you as he is to the person in Syria. I gave the examples of the Polynesian Jesus in the stained glass and the conch shells for worship. God wants to speak to us in the language that is most easily heard–think about Pentecost if you like. Meaning God speaks the language of the Gospel in as many human dialects as God needs. God uses culture and context to point to truth. God needs people to speak in those dialects of culture and context. God needs many great story tellers all over so the Gospel story can be told in every “language.” We must pay attention to how versatile the core tenets of the Gospel can be acted out: mercy, love, grace, justice, redemption, forgiveness, etc. 

Good storytellers need good teachers and communities to help them connect to and tell their story, as it fits with the Gospel, better. Communities demonstrate how the core tenants are expressed in those variety of ways. Communities allow for a place to begin telling your story. They offer feedback and correction, explaining when the story is clear and on point–when the Gospel is really being told effectively. 

Parkway family, during my short time with you, you have helped me to become a better storyteller of the Gospel. The example you lived out for me and my family has given me greater context and better examples with which I can use to tell the Gospel more clearly. I am forever grateful to you for the impact you have had and the change you have brought to my life, to my family’s life. Wherever the Lord leads me to next will benefit from your good work. I am sad to be leaving but I am happy that I have been changed by my time with you.