The Power of Story
I believe that propositional statement to be true. You may believe it or not. If you do, you can without that belief really connecting with you.
However, if I said “I had a motorcycle wreck on June 22, 2013. I was riding with two of my friends about 20 minutes from my house when I rounded a curve. It was an unfamiliar road and I didn’t quite make the curve, ending up on the shoulder. I thought I would just ride it out and just ease back on to the road. However, something caught my front wheel, flipped the bike, and sent me about 30 feet into the air, with me doing a somersault in the process. I landed on my left side in between the road and a metal fence. In the process of flying off my bike, I broke my left ankle and right thumb. On the fall, I banged my left elbow, taking eleven stitches to heal up. I went back to the accident scene two weeks later and saw the fence and the road – each about 3-5 feet from where I ended up in this sort of ditch. As I looked at that grass “cradle” where I landed, I started to weep. I got a real glimpse of how close I came to hitting either the fence of the road – neither of which would have been good. I wept over what could have been and out of gratitude for God’s protection.”
Then you would understand why my belief connects with that truth that motorcycles are dangerous. My story connects me to it. If you cared about me, that story would connect you with it as well.
The power of story to connect is important to remember as we think about the Gospel.
As I have asked people over the years, “What is the Gospel?” I usually get a propositional statement or two like:
– Jesus died for my sins.
– Jesus died for my sins so I could go to heaven.
– Jesus died for my sins so I could be in relationship with him now and then be with him forever.
All these statements are propositions. I believe they are true. But, when it comes to describing the Gospel, they are incomplete. They don’t tell the story.
In not telling the story, these statements don’t connect with us in a way that The Story of the Gospel can.
So let me ask you a couple of questions about the Gospel:
– What do you tell people when you tell them the Gospel?
– What do you train others to tell people when you train them to “share the Gospel”?
– Does what you tell them describe the great Story of the Gospel that God has been telling since CREATION, through the FALL, and REDEMPTION, and ultimately ends up in the CONSUMMATION?
You may be telling people the truth, equipping others to tell them the truth, but you may not be telling them or equipping them to tell others the whole Gospel. The result – you may be telling them the truth, but you may not really be connecting with their hearts as you remove those truths from the STORY of the GOSPEL.
If you would like some resources to help you both understand and share the Story of the Gospel with others, check out the following:
– The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler
Remember – “If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away when needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” Barry Lopez
How different would our evangelism be if we thought this way? God has given us the Story of the Gospel. We need to care for it and learn to give it away when needed because there are those in our spheres of contact who need the Story of the Gospel more than food to stay alive.