You might recognize that familiar hymn and maybe you even hummed along as you read the words. Stories are one of the best ways we communicate the good news of God’s love. Jesus used stories in his parables with characters from everyday life that people could relate to. Lutheran children’s book author Sherri Rinker sees God at work in her writing, feeling God’s presence as she comes up with ideas and untangles the bits and pieces that ultimately become a story, allowing her to connect with people around the world (read more about her life and work at livinglutheran.org or in the October 2020 issue of Living Lutheran magazine).
This year our congregation, Immanuel Lutheran in Boise, is using storytelling for our stewardship emphasis. For five weeks we are hearing from five different members their story of how God is at work through a particular ministry, and how it has impacted their lives personally. The stories highlight our Food Fellowship weekly dinner, youth and family ministry, book studies, and two ministries begun since the pandemic—TV Prays and ILC Connects which is a calling program of members reaching out to other members. They call attention to the fact that even though the doors of our building remain closed, God continues to be at work in our lives and ministry. I’m amazed at how the Church has adapted and responded to what’s happening right now with new and creative ways to keep telling the story of God’s love.
In an article entitled Stewardship as Storytelling, Pastor Taryn Montgomery of Chisago Lake (Minnesota) Lutheran Church said the following:
What is your stewardship story? As you reflect on how God’s love in Jesus Christ influences your life, you will see how your story is part of the larger story of God, compelling you to share it with others.
“I love to tell the story: how pleasant to repeat what seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet! I love to tell the story, for some have never heard the message of salvation from God’s own holy word. I love to tell the story; ‘twill be my theme in glory to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.”
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Trinity’s fall stewardship also asked members to tell their stories, which we recorded and posted on YouTube. One of the gifts of the pandemic has been its challenge to embrace different technologies for sharing the Good News . This time last year, who would have thought we would be trying some of these things, much less becoming proficient!?!
At Trinity we’ve been emphasizing the telling of our personal faith stories for a couple years now. It’s been such a blessing to go deeper with each other & see how God has been at work in our lives. Thank you for your inspired words.