More lessons from the “creativity in ministry” conference………………….
One of the things we’ve discussed this week that struck a particular cord with me, was the importance of story.
We are a people of story. We tell stories all the time: stories of our children, favorite families stories we re-play over and over, and stories that help us to reminisce or remember, to re-live, or to explain why we are the way we are. In its essence, that’s really what the Bible is: the story of God and God’s people. Stories first verbally told around fires, and passed from generation to generation, then later put into written form and passed down through the centuries. They tell us who God is and who we are, and how we are to live in community together.
As a Cast member at a Walt Disney Park, you are told you have one job: to tell the story that you are at the happiest place on Earth. It is that simple, and everything they do has to tell that story. From the parking lot to rides, from the landscape to the shows everyone and everything tells that story. This story is both a feeling they want to evoke in you, and an experience they want you to have. No matter what has happened in a cast person’s life 5 minutes before, when they greet you they are to tell you that story, and the ones who are the best at it are cast members who really believe in the story---for them it is not contrived or hard to do!
Now you might be asking, what does that have to do with the church? We have a story to tell, and really it is “the greatest story ever told!” (Sound familiar?) Our story when it is boiled down to its essence is: Jesus loves you, God wants to be in relationship with you, and so do we.
Pretty simple right? If like the cast members, this is a story that we truly value and believe in, a story that we want others to hear and know for themselves, then we have to make sure everything we do tells that story!
So how do we tell that story? In simple ways, like a smile and a welcome. In more complex ways, like being community for one another, even when it’s hard, handling conflict in ways that doesn’t change or affect the truth of our story. If it really is our favorite story, the truth about God that we really believe in, then we should be excited to tell that story, and ready to share it with the world!
As we dream big, God-sized dreams, and think about what it means to welcome guests to our church, let us also ask God to help us find new ways to tell the story of Jesus’ love and grace.