July 28, 2014

The Importance of Telling Stories

Mark 8:34-38

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words . . . .
—Mark 8:3


The more we read the Bible in terms of stories, the more we discover how important story-telling is for us today. The church has a long tradition of storytelling (we often call it testimony), but we can easily lose sight of that.

Sometimes we get the mistaken idea that biblical doctrine is the most important thing to talk about. We listen to doctrinal sermons and talk about doctrine in our Bible classes. Biblical doctrines are crucial, since without them our stories will quickly wander off-track. But the doctrines of the Bible are only the backdrop against which the real action takes place. The Master Storyteller is weaving our lives into his story of making all things new.

When you worship with fellow Christians, you’re not just attending a meeting; you’re telling stories. As Scripture is read, you’re recounting the story of what God has done, and as its teachings are applied, you’re setting the stage for the next chapter in God’s story. Also, as believers share together in conversation, they fill each other in on the past week’s development in the story that God has been creating in their lives. Even family conversations over dinner can and should be a testimony of what God has done that day. We can easily miss this at times, turning our sermons into lectures and our conversations into mere small talk.

What has God been doing in your story? When did you last tell someone about it?

Lord, help us to share with others the story of what you are doing in our lives. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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