ECF Vital Practices November 2014: Sharing Our Stories

November 5, 2014

We love a good story
Stories move us. When we ask workshop participants whether they prefer reading a story or a report, well, I expect you know which option most people choose.

As communities of faith, we have stories to share. Telling each other our stories - face-to-face – often seems easier, putting them in written form, harder. This issue of Vestry Papers focuses on helping all of us become better storytellers, in person, in written form, and on social media. During the past year, I’ve kept a list of congregations – and individuals – whose storytelling impresses me and invited some of them to share the approaches that work for them with all of you.

If you find the information in this issue useful, please consider two things: Sharing this issue with others and becoming a subscriber.

Our November issue includes:

Why Share Stories?” by Julie Lytle offers a theological framework for storytelling. She reminds us that as Christians, the stories of God’s presence are both the “ground from which religion emerges and the means by which the Christian faith continues,” and gives us permission to shine our lights brightly rather than hiding them under a bushel basket. Este artículo es disponible en español aquí.

Is there an epic event or something more intangible that defines your congregation? In Dan Handschy’s “Collecting Our Stories,” he shares the story of how his congregation began to collect their stories as a way to discover how to respond to a newcomer who asked: “How might I move more deeply into the life of the community?” They weren’t asking for something to do, they wanted to become a part of that ‘something’ that made Church of the Advent unique. Este artículo es disponible en español aquí.

Sometimes one of the biggest roadblocks to story sharing is scarcity; not of stories but of the human resources needed to make it happen. In “Newcomer Profiles,” Ken Garner shares the efficient process he’s developed to capture and share the stories and experiences of newcomers who choose to join The Redeemer. And, if you read all the way to the end, you’ll discover his Plan B when an anticipated profile fell through. Este artículo es disponible en español aquí.

Impressed by the warmth, friendliness, and joy found throughout the Grace-St. Luke’s website, I invited Lucy Owens to share their approach with our readers. In “Weaving Story Into All We Do,” Lucy describes a congregation that recognizes sharing stories is one of the most powerful ways to express their commitment and connection to God and to each other.