Sorry for the delay in follow-ups. Things have been rather hectic lately. Nonetheless, let’s get cracking!
Last post dealt with the fact that every single person has a story that is unique to them. These stories are the link between Heaven and Earth when it comes to reaching out to people with Jesus’ amazing message.
As a minister, I’m often told, “I can’t share my faith with anyone! I’m afraid! What if I lead someone astray? What if I mess it up? What if…”
What if… We love that phrase, don’t we? It defines us. It lingers. It makes us feel OK. It seems to always be there to ‘comfort’ us or ‘justify’ our reasons for not living out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). However, ‘What if’s” are not the building blocks of the Kingdom. God takes our “What if’s” and turns them into “He did.” That’s the power of the story; of your story.
So how do you begin to articulate it? How do you tell the sweeping epic of you? If you don’t think you’re story is anything worth hearing that re-read the first post in this series. If you’re ready to tell it, keep reading.
In the last post in this series, I will tell my story, but for now, I want to give you a few pointers for sharing your story.
1) Write it out – OK, i realize the irrelevancy of ‘writing’ something, but seriously, write out your story. Something happens when your mind, hand, and paper connect. Write down every detail. I usually try and put it in three categories.
The first is the B.C. phase – the Before Christ. Articulate what your values were, what took up your time, what you were passionate about. Do not skip difficult parts or places in your heart that still ache with the pain life has inflicted upon you. Don’t gloss yourself over. Be as raw and real as you feel comfortable. Elaborate on what life was like when you lived for yourself, or maybe for another ‘god.’
The “during” phase comes second: Use this phase of the story to highlight just what got you thinking about Jesus. What was going on in life? What did someone say, or what did you see or hear that triggered the wheels of change to beginning turning? What hard things did you wrestle with? Was it the divinity of Jesus? The reliability of the Bible? Self-esteem issues? Trust issues? What baggage did you have to take and sift through to come to the point of following Jesus? Again, don’t be skimpy on details.
The final phase is the “Metamorphosis Phase.” This is the part where you talk about what has changed. Where are your priorities and allegiances now? What is important? What isn’t so important? How have you changed because of what God has done for you? View this as the butterfly coming out of the cocoon sort of illustration.
2) After you’ve written your complete story down, read through it. Make any redaction that needs to happen; add points that your forgot or eliminate redundancy. Now, take that piece of paper and keep it somewhere you will be able to access it every day for the next several days. Your goal now is to read your story the way you’ve told it…and commit it to memory.
3) Finally, pray for God to give you an opportunity to share your story. I can promise you that He WILL honor that and grant that request! I know you may be scared to death, but you’ve got this! You can do it! You’ve written it down, you’ve committed it to you heart, and now it’s ready to be told. Run with it! This isn’t a Bible study or a complex discussion on systematic theology – this is you telling another human being what Jesus has done in your life and how that transforms and changes EVERYTHING about you. You may get that “overwhelmed” feeling, but just go for it. When you tell a story, people usually respond positively. Of all the times I’ve told my story I’ve never had a negative reaction – indifferent, yes; horrific, no.
In conclusion, you are the greatest tool for reaching people. Your story will change lives because of the One who died to change yours. You have something to say; so say it! You are something you weren’t; now tell it! You are a child of God who is part of the story of restoration that God is weaving and creating daily.
As I said, the next post will have my story. Hopefully it will help you get comfortable with telling yours. Also, I want to hear your story. Don’t be afraid. God is strong.