“Storytelling is our obligation to the next generation. If all we are doing is marketing,
we are doing a disservice, and not only to our profession,but to our children, and their children.
Give something of meaning to your audience by inspiring, engaging, and educating them with story. Stop marketing. Start storytelling.”
--Laura Holloway, Founder & Chief of The Storyteller Agency
I have been to many church growth conferences and seminars. Many of them were about marketing—have a pithy mission statement, contemporary worship/ traditional worship, getting out into the community. And even many of us think of advertising on line or in papers. None of these things are bad, but I think we in the church have forgotten how to tell stories and the power of story telling.
Stories often time do not give easy answers. We have to think them through and often ask some questions. Stories are thought provoking. Stories also help teach in ways that make the points stick with us. When we hear a story, we often find someone to identify with, someone to not like, someone who becomes the heroic voice.
Telling our personal stories one to another reveals our values, reveals our fears, reveals our personalities.
God tells us a story from Genesis to Revelation. We would do well to remember the story we have joined, to recognize our story within the story of Scripture and learn how to articulate God working in our lives in story form. Its not about marketing Jesus or the church. Its about God telling us a story—the True story of who we are and our purpose—in contrast to the story the world is telling us about ourselves.
Two years ago we started the Story and went through scripture chronologically. We will do something similar in the coming year as we journey through the Narrative Lectionary. A lectionary is a set of readings throughout the year. There are daily readings from a variety of lectionaries. The UMC as well as many mainline denominations often use the Revised common lectionary for their Sunday worship service readings. The narrative lectionary is one of many lectionaries available to use. We want to learn the story of Scripture together and I believe the narrative lectionary is a good tool to learn our story.
As we journey through the story of Scripture on Sunday morning, we will continue to have our Read, Pray, Grow, study guides to help us hear the story of scripture as well. Wednesday morning Bible study will be reading Adam Hamilton’s book “Making sense of the Bible.” This will also give us an overview of scripture and help us in our reading of God’s Word.
As always, we are watching the news on the pandemic and our goal is to keep everyone safe and also make sure all feel welcomed. It is a fine line we walk, but we are to be defined by love.