I want to share with you an exciting example of storytelling, as we’re seeing it played out in our church here in Ontario, Canada.
A year and a half ago our leadership made a decision to engage family ministry at a whole-church level. Not simply in a specific department or on certain days of the week or even certain times of the year, but in every aspect of the ways in which we do church.
And, of course, what this included was a transformation of the way we teach Scripture—bringing it more in link with the way we teach it to kids which is this idea of The Big God Story. God’s grand redemptive narrative.
And so we took this known principal of how we’ve been teaching kids and applied it to our whole church context. Especially how we teach our adults. And the fruit has been amazing.
The Fruit of Teaching The Big God Story
Several weeks ago one of our small groups was studying Spiritual Parenting and arrived at the chapter on storytelling. And as the facilitator asked folks, “What did you encounter in this chapter, what did you find?” they learned that a number of people said, “Well, actually, we skimmed it.”
Now, you might be wondering why this is a story of health, why I share this as good example. What the leader discovered was the reason they skimmed it was because they knew it.
They began to read this chapter that so beautifully illustrates and spells out the entire arch of Scripture, and these families were going, “Right. We know this. This has been taught to us.”
It’s an On-Going Process
Part of The Big God Story is these summary points throughout the year. Not only do you teach it over the entire year, but at the beginning of the year you provide a snapshot of what the whole thing looks like.
At Christmas we wrap it all up—we had built up the entire arch to the arrival of Jesus. At Easter, we summarize how it all fits. Our families are getting the whole arch of Scripture multiple times a year, and it is known to them.
One of these folks came up to my colleague and I and shared with us how they’ve been going to church their whole lives, but for the first time they were understanding Scripture as one story. Not a random collection but one arch, one beautiful, evolving story of God’s work to redeem His people, to redeem His creation and that they understood their place in it.
It wasn’t about God’s story as a standalone story and then our story happening thousands of years later. It was God’s story that is still happening and that their family is a part of that. This is now a part of how they see their family.
What more can you ask for? Storytelling transforms families.