Recently I had the opportunity to be part of a baptism service. I love these types of services. They are probably my favorite. One of the best parts is hearing the stories of what God has done in people’s lives. The ones I heard that day were moving, inspiring and very real. It was great, and it reminded me how much I love a good story.
Stories are important ways of communicating, teaching, modeling and motivating. Nothing beats a good story. We all need to be great at sharing stories. Let me suggest some types of stories we should be telling.
The Jesus story.
You know, the one in the bible. Telling people who Jesus is, what He did and why it matters. I know that there are lots of pre-packaged gospel presentations that are not personal in nature”, and they may have their place, but the real question is this: can you tell this story in a way that is comfortable for you and understandable to folks who don’t know it? We need to get good at this. We need to ask and evaluate how we are equipping people to share this most important story.
How the Jesus story impacts my story. My testimony. The part where I share the difference being a Christ follower has made in my life. The part where I talk about what God is up to right now in my story. Again, as churches we need to ask and evaluate how we are equipping people to get comfortable doing this. As individuals we need to be asking if we have these stories (new ones – not “when I was a child at my Grandma’s knee stories. God is still active after all.) and where God might be asking us to share them.
What God is up to stories.
We always need to be looking for appropriate ways to share these types of stories. Notice I said appropriate, because not every story is good to share everywhere. We need to be careful with stories. They are personal and precious, but we need to share them where we can. Some examples:
In worship gatherings we can share answers to prayer.
In small groups we can share stories of opportunities we have had to share God and His love with the folks around us who are not yet Christ followers, and we can then pray together for more opportunities.
In leadership meetings we can talk about signs we see of folks moving deeper in their relationships with God – folks who took communion for the first time or people showing up more and asking good questions. This is not an exhaustive list so let’s try to grow this list and tell more stories.
Stories of lives changed.
We really need to be looking for ways to help people tell their stories when they become Christ followers. Baptism services are a great chance to do this, but they aren’t the only chance. The point is, these are some of the best stories and we need to share them as much as we can. If all of heaven stops and celebrates when a life and an eternity are changed, the least we can do is slow down and share the story.
There are lots of good stories out there. Don’t stop with the ones I have listed above. This was just to get us started. Look for ways to share your story and the Jesus story. Create ways to tell stories about what God is up to in our midst. Slow down and listen to other folks stories so that you can praise with them or point them towards the God they need to find.
And if you have a good story you want to share, you know how to get hold of me. I would love to hear it.
Director of Leadership Development, the Free Methodist Church in Canada