Connect Your Stories

Telling the Story That Matters

“Who is Jesus? I thought He was a corporation or a company.”

I had been interviewing a team of students serving in South Asia for the summer, and the students were telling me how, after sharing in a village, one man came up and asked them this question.

My Sunday School-going, Bible Belt-living self couldn’t wrap my mind around the thought that there were people who hadn’t heard of Jesus. But God had plucked me out of the United States that summer 3 years ago to show me the need of telling His story across the world.

Before I set foot on South Asian soil for my first experience overseas, I was a junior in college with a major I loved but unsure of what I’d do with it after graduation.

I loved telling stories. Sitting across from anyone with a pen in hand and open notebook full of questions brought me satisfaction. Journalism was my thing. It seemed as if it was the one thing in the world I was good at doing.

Connecting with Children through Stories in VBS

“How is our church using stories in VBS [Vacation Bible School] to connect with children?” I asked our children’s minister, Ms. Alexia, through email. “Do you have a story to share?”

Reading her response, I sensed her excitement.

She explained that one year, all the children had gathered for their VBS daily missions experience. The screen on the wall displayed the computer slide presentation, and the props set the stage.

Gaining every child’s attention, the teacher began pouring her enthusiasm into each young heart about our church’s participation with Baptist Global Response’s Bucket Project. She shared how many Africans suffer with AIDS and that sometimes the buckets contain the only provisions those people receive throughout their illness.

One child, who had been adopted by a church family, suddenly stood and pointed at the picture on the screen. “My mom got a bucket just like that. We got one of your buckets.”

Teaching Preschoolers the Gospel through Storying

  • Who are you?
  • Where do you come from?
  • Why do you exist?
  • Where are you going?
  • How will you get there?

Stories connect us—across cultures, generations, and communities. Stories are meant to be shared and passed on.

Who first told you about Christ? Who first shared His story with you, connecting His story to your story? For me, it was my grandmother. She shared Christ faithfully with me each time she kept my brother and me.

From the time I was around 3 or 4, I can remember her telling us Bible stories. And if anyone were qualified to teach children the Bible, it was my grandmother. She had taught the 4- and 5-year-old class at her church for years, even before I was born.

My Story

I came to know the Lord when I was 7 years old. Many people in my life were getting baptized, including my mom, and I had questions. The more I learned about that public profession of faith, the more I desired to have faith of my own. I began to understand what trusting Jesus meant, and knowing Him at such an early age changed my life. I am not perfect, but I am graciously forgiven for my sins and able to wake up every morning knowing that Jesus’ mercy to me is new each day.

I love my story, as simple as it is, because it is my story. A nonbeliever can argue all she wants about her hesitancy to believe in God, but no one can tell me my story isn’t true. No one can tell me the Lord didn’t change my life. Every day is proof that He did. It’s why our stories are important.

Saving Your Children through Life Stories

My daughter sat across the table from me, her forehead crinkling with confusion. “What do I do, Mom?”

Quiet hovered throughout the house this Sunday afternoon, with everyone else napping. I propped my elbows on the table. My thoughts twisted in every direction. How do I answer her? She’s 18, an adult now. I can’t say no, and I certainly can’t encourage her. She had been asked out on a date by someone she doesn’t really know, and she was conflicted on how to answer him.

Just as God passed along stories, the bad with the good, I’ve passed along my stories to my daughter—the bad with the good. She knows my teenage prodigal moments. She knows my story.

I touched her hand. “You don’t have to go.”

She saw right through to my heart, knowing my concern for her—my concern for her to learn from my bad and be the wiser. “What if I tell him that I’d like to get to know him better before I go on a date with him?”

“That would be wise.”

“Mom, I’m so glad I can talk to you.”

Storytime: Tell Your Story

Almost everyone loves to eavesdrop on the characters of Lady Mary in Downton Abbey and Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. The drama, the characters, the intrigue, the costumes . . . the story! So what’s your story?

Everyone has one. You may think your story is boring or embarrassing but definitely not epic. However, your life’s journey may be the catalyst to encourage someone to find God’s purpose and plan for his or her life.

As a theatre major in college, I had to play many characters on stage. More than memorizing lines, I used a character analysis sheet with questions like the ones below to delve into the character to find out what made her who she was. Not every question could be answered, but with close study of the script, I could find many inferences and facts that would help me understand what made this character “tick.”

Connecting Stories

Stories are powerful. They connect us in deep ways. In our relationships, we may agree or disagree on many things but our shared experiences often are the glue that keeps us together. And in the middle of our very real stories, God is working. He is working in amazing ways. What God is doing in and through us is more than we can imagine, more than we realize even now. Many stories are still unfolding. What about you? What’s your story? How might God be working in and through you, beyond what you can see?

I recently talked with a new friend who is Vietnamese. God has worked in her life to bring her to a new place of service. She has been asked to be a leader in a fellowship of Vietnamese churches. She is leading women to be on mission for God. She never dreamed she would be doing what she is doing now. God guided her one step at a time. At each point, He gave her just what she needed, just at the right time.

Making Bible Stories Come Alive

The girls and I walked into the small, empty chapel. “Let’s sit up front,” I said. I led the way, and we took our seats. I smiled, taking in my surroundings—my teenage daughters were with me at a women’s retreat. I’d just signed them up, without their permission, and they hadn’t given me any flack over it.

Through the stories of David and Goliath and the prodigal son, the speaker shared about leaving an abusive relationship and going home. Her parents had moved to Texas, and she didn’t even know their city or address. After driving through several states and passing the Texas border, she stopped and made a phone call.

The Original Storyteller

As an English major, my life is inundated with stories. From the beginning to the end of each semester, I can read anything from historical nonfiction, such as The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, to English Victorian gothic fiction, such as Wuthering Heights. In many ways, I’ve always understood that our lives are rooted in the stories we know and tell. Stories shape who we are and how we relate to others.

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