Do You Have A Story to Tell?
It has been fascinating to work here in Athens. Part of my job, along with fellow creative, David Kitch, is to work with missionaries who go out amongst the immigrant population to share the message of Christ. I admire their boldness and willingness to move and work outside the comfort zone of my western mindset.
One of the areas we are tasked with is helping them tell their own faith story. I grew up in the church and as a kid this was a common and frequent part of Sunday School, youth group and church life. Over the years I think it has become something of a lost art in the life of the average Christian. We may talk a lot about God and what we believe, but I fear the conversation is more shaped by arguing, debating or trying to persuade others to believe like we do. It is rarely the simple story of “this is what happened to me.”
As I am listening and working through this with others here in Athens, I am reminded again of the power of our stories. We are encouraging them to break their faith story into three simple parts:
1) My life before Christ.
2) How I came to follow Christ.
3) How my life is different after following Christ.
We can talk and argue theology but it is hard to argue with personal story–what we know to be true through our own life experience. Of course that story is changing as we grow in experience and knowledge. That story I told back in the church of my youth has changed as my understanding of God changes. It doesn’t negate the validity of the original story, but it does change my understanding of what has happened in my life as a result.
I encourage you to go back to the basics. The 1,2, and 3 of your journey in your faith story. You just might find the reliving and retelling of your story to be a very renewing process!Posted by Chuck Neighbors | 2 comments
How does that work for a person who does not remember a point before which their faith was not a real, active part of their existence – when there is no memory of “Life before Christ”?
Excellent question, Nina. I know for many of us growing up in the faith/church pinpointing a time “before Christ” is not so easy or obvious as, say it was for Rashid (in my last bog). I think we can still find those moments however, in different contexts. Maybe a moment when you took ownership of your faith, instead of it being the faith of your parents. Or perhaps a time when you felt God’s involvement in a circumstance. I think that still applies and makes good “story.” In my own story God’s working in my life to launch this ministry is a more powerful story to me than the actual “before Christ” story in my life.