Blog Archives

Missional Training #18 – Preparing to Lead the Story-Formed Way Pt. 2

Two of our Missional Communities are starting the Story-Formed Way this week.  The Story-Formed Way is a 10 week discipleship course  consisting of interactive storytelling and dialogue through the major narratives of Scripture from Creation to Restoration.  Below are some tips on how to prepare to lead the Story.

 Preparation

At the beginning of the lesson, there are big picture points that focus on the gist of what the lesson is leading towards.  That is for your knowledge as the leader.  Read through the Story out loud multiple times.  Learn it.  Ingest it. Meditate on it. Think of the tone in which the characters would be speaking.  You want to story tell, not just read a paper to people.  However, remember that the Story has been crafted to accurately convey the biblical story.  Don’t change the words.  If you misspeak, reiterate what you meant by saying what was written. 

  • To prepare the manuscript I’m telling the story from, I find it helpful to underline and highlight places where I want to emphasize something important that appears in the dialogue. 
  • Look through the questions at the end and try to answer them yourself.  If there are no answers provided for a specific question, make sure you at least think of what that answer could be. 
  • When it comes to the dialogue, I look over the questions before hand and try to answer them myself.  The leaders guide provides answers, but I try to pinpoint the key answers.  If I can think of any others, sometimes I write them down as well.  If the question is difficult or unclear, sometimes I’ll write down an alternative question just in case people don’t understand the question that was written

 Setting the Tone

  • The contents of the bible were originally told, retold, and passed down from person to person, from generation to generation, orally.  Ancient Jews, as well as the church up until the 16th century, all learned the biblical story communally through story telling.  This didn’t just leave them to try to make sense of the bible on their own, but they had a whole community to help interpret the bible and to retain the accuracy of its telling and interpretation.   Two-thirds of the Bible is a narrative.  One of the benefits of learning the narrative is that it opens the door to understand everything else in scripture. 
  • I often relate the Story to being a smorgasbord or a potluck.  If only one or two people bring a dish, it isn’t much fun.  Likewise, every voice is valuable and contributes.  Our discussion is a smorgasbord.  The more variety of voices and perspective, the greater the feast. 
  • Ancient Jewish people would say that there are “70 Facets” to the Bible.  It was like a giant diamond with so many facets that at every turn you get a slightly different perspective and insight into the diamond.  Likewise, One can study the biblical story over a lifetime and still learn new insights.  It’s  like an onion.  You can keep pulling it back and find new layers of meaning.  Each person present is like that facet of a diamond that the Holy Spirit uses to teach us of the beauty within God’s Story. 
  • Relax and have fun.  Make sure that the tone matches the other activities done that night so it seems natural.  We want sharing God’s word and applying the Gospel to each other’s lives to feel natural so when we gather officially to do that, we want it to seem like a very natural thing as well.  
  • After the first week, When you start the lesson, you can ask if someone is willing to review the last lesson or the whole story leading up to the current one.  This reinforces the themes of the greater Story of God so that they are more easily connected to the story you are covering.   Once the full story is remembered, then you go into telling that night’s story.

 

Telling the Story (This should take 2-5 minutes)

  • When telling the story, I find it helpful to have already underlined or highlighted the most important phrases that are brought up in the following dialogue.  This helps me know what is most important, and also helps me keep track of my place so I can look at people when I speak.  I practice the story 3-5 times.  I try to get to the point where I’m not reading the story, but speaking it and using the manuscript to keep me on track.  The Key is to Stick to the Story.
  • Stick to the Narrative.  Don’t interpret on the fly.  Don’t add things from future stories. 

The Dialogue

  • This is where the Story begins to come alive and shape your community.  The purpose of the dialogue is to help draw out the truths from the Story.
  • Remember set up the expectation that all answers given are to come from the night’s narrative or a past narrative in the greater Story.  If someone tries to quote Luther, Calvin, Billy Graham, Buddha, or Deepak Chopra, Joyce Meyer, etc,  say, “I don’t remember them being in the story” or “where did you hear that in the story.”  This is helpful even when someone starts saying, “I don’t think God would do that!” or “I think God is more like this…”  We’re here to learn the biblical story and his truth as the story is interpreted through the individuals of the group. 
  • If you’re leading the dialogue, you’re job is to keep discussion going through asking questions.  It is NOT you duty to answer the questions or to preach.  The Holy Spirit works through hearing the word of God.  The Spirit will work through the people present to lead the group into the truth. 
  • It is not necessary that you ask all the questions.  There’s usually too many questions to focus on.  The questions are meant to spur discussion.  Remember, this isn’t a Q and A session.  The best questions are often, “What did we learn about God in this story?”  “What did we learn about human beings?” 
  • Make sure you spend some time near the end on some life –application questions.  If the group hasn’t already naturally gone there with some of the previous questions, ask questions about how the story parallels their lives, informs their lives, is seen in aspects of their life, etc. 

Also see Preparing to Lead the Story Formed Way Pt. 1

Pictures found herehere.

Share God’s Story This Easter

Holy Week, especially Good Friday and Easter, is probably one of the best times to invite someone to a gospel presentation of some sort or to attend church with you. 

In our Mother Church, we handed out bible tracts to all of our members.  Each tracts simply told the story of Easter and why it is important.  In each of those tracts was an invitation to one of our Good Friday or Easter Sunday services.  We could have advertised over the radio, in the newspaper, or in mass mailings, but most people give a church a try because someone personally invited them.  We encouraged each member of our church to hand that tract and invite to someone they know who was dechurched or unchurched and invite them to come to church with them. 

Since we are in the process of starting a church and haven’t started formal services, I encourage you to invite some people to attend church with you at St. Paul.   You could use the bible tracts if you’d like, but all of you know the Story and have been trained in telling it.  You could share the tract or simply invite them to church.  At Some point, be ready to tell the Story.  Remember what can happen if you’re not prepared to tell the whole story.  Telling them “Christ is risen” is indeed the central message of Christianity and Easter, but if you don’t expand on who he is, why he had to die, and what his resurrection will bring, the Easter Story won’t make much sense. 

Again, Follow a Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration pattern

Explain the God Created everything Good.  The world was as it should be.  Everything was perfect.  We lived with God, others, ourselves, and creation in perfect relationships.

In the Fall, humanity joined in the rebellion of God’s enemy.  They rejected God’s love and protection and sought life elsewhere.   Their rebellion, called sin, broke all the perfect relationships we had at Creation.   All creation began breaking down.   Pain, suffering, natural disasters, war, violence, sickness, and death were all a result of our rebellion. 

Yet God sent His Son into the World to Redeem all of Creation.  He loved us so much that he was willing to carry all the burdens of our rebellion and to experience the worst of it as he died an excruciating death on the cross.  He died the death we deserved and we receive an exchange.  He took on our guilt on the cross so that we could take on his right standing with God.  We are considered innocent because Jesus stood in our place and took our punishment as the guilty party.  Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning and proved he had defeated death.  Now we have the assurance that because He lives, we’ll live also. 

Jesus ascended back to His Father in Heaven, but before He left he gave us His Spirit.  Through His Holy Spirit, Jesus now dwells in us.  He has begun to restore us to the people we were meant to be as we have a new relationship with God and he has chosen to use us to start restoring in part the world around us as we display God’s goodness in our actions and share the good news of what He’s done with others.  One day, God will bring all things to a full restoration.  All the bad things of this world will no longer be remembered.  God will restore all things as they were meant to be.  The world will be perfect again.  We’ll live in pleasure forever in the presence of God. 

We all have this great hope.  Make sure you share it with someone this Easter.

Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 3

In Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story Part 1,  We mentioned that every Christian needs to know how to share the biblical story of

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

In Part 2, we talked about how the Christian life and a personal faith story adds validity to sharing the Gospel Story.  Today I want to share why it’s important to always be ready to share these stories.

We all have people in our lives that we know are far from Christ and we feel like we’re called to share the gospel with them.  For my mother, this person was her hairdresser.  She prayed for her daily and always wanted to share the faith with her, but she never saw a natural way to bring it up.   

Every time my mother came home from getting her fair done, she’d stand at the door smiling, waiting to see if anyone noticed her new hairdo.  We almost grew to expect it and we’d keep an eye out for her return so that we would remember to say something about her hair style.

One spring day she went to her hair dresser again.  When she go home, all of us were looked up, ready to check out her new hairstyle, and we noticed that she wasn’t smiling, but she looked like the dog died. 

After some prodding, my mother shared that her hair dresser had asked why my mother was getter her hair cut.  My mom responded that it that she was getting ready for Easter later on that week.  Then the hair stylist asked, “That’s one thing I’ve never understood about Christians.  Why is Easter so important to you guys?” 

My mom panicked.  She simply said, “Oh, that’s when we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead”….and that was all she said.

Now was my mother’s answer wrong? No!  Not at all!  It was spot on. Yet she could have given a better answer.  She didn’t make the most of the opportunity God had granted her.  In fact, her answer probably didn’t make much sense to the hair dresser.  Yet if she was prepared ahead of time, she could have shared the grand story of why Easter is important through: Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration.    If she had memorized those four themes, she wouldn’t have panicked and would have given a much greater answer that explained the significance of Christ’s death. 

This encounter wither her hair dresser was years ago.  My mother has been looking for another chance to talk to her about Christ ever since.  Don’t miss your opportunity.  Be prepared to Share God’s Story and to share how it has changed your Story.

Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 2

Yesterday, in Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story Part 1,  We mentioned that every Christian needs to know how to share the biblical story of

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

You’ve been saved by believing the Good News of that Story.  You need to be ready to share it as well because God will allow you opportunities to be his witnesses.   Yet what makes that story ring true? They need to see it working in your life.   

Before Peter tells us to be ready to share the Gospel Story, he says in 1 Peter2:12,

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

For people to believe the message of Jesus, they often have to first see it working in our lives.  So, we should try to live our lives as if we truly do believe that God owns everything, that he has given us everything we need in Jesus, and that he will give us life eternal with Him.  When we don’t do this perfectly because we are still sinners, we can’t cover it up and act “holier than thou.”  Rather we need to be honest about our struggles and be ready to live lives of confession, repentance, and forgiveness openly so that others see that the Christian life is attainable and not just for the morally superior.   They also then see the Grace of God in action. 

 

How To Share Your Story

Besides being willing to live the Christian Life,  we also need to be prepared to Share how God’s Story has affected us.  The best way of doing this is by following this outline:

  1. How Was I before Christ?
  2. How Christ came into my life?
  3. How He changed me and my life?

I’m Lutheran, so in my church body we baptize as infants and teach our children the faith from infancy.  Many of us can’t remember a time that we didn’t believe.  So instead of talking about when we became Christians, the pivotal point in our story is when our faith became our own and not just what our parents taught us, or when our faith was tested and how it brought us through difficult times.   So our stories might look a little different.  It might go something like this. 

  1. I was raised in the faith
  2. When I made my faith my own/ how I grew in it
  3. How it changed me

or

  1. I was a Christian
  2. I faced a horribly difficult situation
  3. How my faith gave me hope and strength

 

My Story

Personally, I’m a mix of both story methods. 

1) I grew up in the faith, but I was never taught why I should believe.  I walked away from God and became a selfish individual.  Everything I did was for my own benefit.  I was in every relationship I had for only as long as I got something out of it.  I was willing to lie, steal, or to hurt anyone to forward my own agenda of become successful. 

2) Yet I ran into difficult times which forced me to reexamine the faith.  After much study I found out how real God was, and how reliable his word was.  I was floored by the love that He showed us by sending his Son to pay for all the bad things I had done.  I soon realized my life shouldn’t be about me, but really everything was about Him.

3) Now I try to live every day of my life for God instead of myself.  I don’t do this perfectly, but I continue to try to serve God with my life because of everything he did for me through Jesus.

How would you tell your own story of Faith?  Feel free to share it in the comment section.

Tomorrow I’ll share why it’s so important to always be ready to share these stories.

Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 1

As Christians we’ve been transformed trough the message, or story, of what God has done for us through Jesus (Romans 10:13-17). The story has been passed on to us, and we’re also called to then pass on that story to others that they too might believe.  The apostle writes in 1st Peter 3:15

In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Peter doesn’t call on all Christians to be evangelists, or street preachers, or those annoying people who harass you until they get you to accept a bible tract.  Rather, what he says is to be ready to share the Gospel.  If you’re living the Christian life, some how some way people will notice.  In their time of need, or plainly out of curiosity, they will ask you for the reason for your hope.  So you must be prepared to share it.  To do this, you’ll need to know the basics of the biblical story. 

How To Tell God’s Story

The easiest way is to remember these four elements.

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

If you have these four elements, you can tell people of the entire redemptive act of Jesus. 

(Creation) God created this world perfect.  It was everything we yearn for.  The world was good.  We had peace with God, with each other, with the animals, & with nature.  It was heaven on earth. 

(Fall) Yet God had an enemy who convinced humanity that they didn’t need God and that they could run the world better.  So humanity was led into rebellion (that is sin) against God.  Because of that rebellion, the world isn’t how it should be.  There are natural disasters, wars, famine, hatred, suffering, and death.  Yet God couldn’t bear for this to go on forever.

(Redemption)  He sent his one and only son, Jesus, into the war zone of this world to offer a truce.  He paid the price of our rebellion on the cross so that we could be pardoned and forgiven.  He has made it possible for a relationship with God again.

(Restoration) Yet God didn’t leave it there.  One day, he will come back and restore all of the creation to what it was meant to be.  There will be no more wars, sorrow, weeping or pain.  It will be heaven on earth once more.  Everything will be made right. 

This narrative of Creation, Fall, Redemption & Restoration is something every Christian needs to know how to share.  Try to speak or to write the gospel story following Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration.  Feel free to leave your attempt in the comment section below. 

Tomorrow, I’ll share what makes people trust the  Biblical Story

Sharing the Christmas Story

We all have family or friends that we feel like we can’t talk to about Jesus.  Even sitting around a  Christmas tree, right next to a Nativity Scene, we have a hard time finding the words to talk about the gift we have in Christ.  Yet at the same time, we might send numerous emails or text throughout the week to these same individuals.  Maybe you could reach them in the same way you are already communicating with them.

Note:  I’m not telling you to bombard them with cheesy, precious moments, glittery image, Christian quote or story with a curse added to the end if they don’t love Jesus enough to forward it on to ten other people.

Anyway,  try sharing showing this awesome video.  In my family, when one person plays a cute video, there’s usually 3-5 more before we get off  youtube.  Throw it in the mix.  Reinforce the story.  Share it on Facebook or Twitter.   

Whether you use the video or not, find a way to point people towards Jesus, and the real meaning of Christmas, this week.

Pastor James Hein's Blog

Crossing my mind. Mind on the cross.

Family Friendly Faith

May God use these pages to bless, encourage and strengthen you.

Sweet Rains

"He sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matt. 5:45)

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips)

Faith In Motion

Thoughts on life in light of the Gospel

Provocations & Pantings

Trusting God :: Treasuring Christ :: Triumphing the Gospel

TRANSFORMINGstory

Positively Living Life & Sharing Faith

docshawn

love. serve. lead

multiply

Following Jesus' Command to Make Disciples

JORDAN ELDER

helping others move forward toward Christ, community, and mission

Nate Navarro

love God. love people. don't go alone.

#KingdomCome

Help wanted: Desperate sinners transformed by Jesus to start a revolution. Inquire within.

The Tentmaker Blog

Using paid employment for Kingdom ministry

khamneithang

instigating a life, one story at a time...

Joewulf

Learning to believe and journey toward Jesus

SoulThirst Church

Saturating the world with the astounding love and truth of the Savior King

KPB Stevens

Fiction, Nonfiction, and More

Plasso

Spontaneous acts of controlled synesthesia

Missional Church Planting

a misson alive blog

%d bloggers like this: