What is the importance of telling our congregation’s story? First, and foremost, we tell our story so that others can hear the message of God’s love. We are called to “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” This is the mission God calls us to in our congregations.
Effectively telling the story of your congregation’s ministry and the story of the ministries your congregation supports will help God’s people grow in their relationship with Jesus. As people know that they are making a difference in other people’s lives, they will be drawn closer to their brothers and sisters in Christ, and they will be motivated to grow in their generosity.
As you tell your story, it is important that you tell it often, and in varied ways. If you want to reach as many people as possible, you simply must tell the same story over and over again in a variety of ways. Use the newsletter. Use emails. Use your web site. Talk about the church’s mission in worship. List the ways the congregation is sharing with the community in the bulletin. Make the story personal and compelling. You have a vast array of ways to tell your congregation’s story – use them all!
You also have countless ways to gather information for telling your story. Consider all the resources you have in your congregation. Think about the people in your congregation who give of their time, their talent, and their treasures. They are teachers who help our children and adults study the Bible and grow in faith, youth leaders who spend time with teenagers to understand more about being faithful, servers in the soup kitchen, choir members who sing God’s praises, caregivers who visit and minister to the sick, pastors who preach the word, and generous people who give of their abundance.
Consider how you might tell the story of your congregation’s mission. How does your story relate to the stories of Jesus?
- The story of Jesus is a story of giving. The widow who put money into the treasury gave out of her poverty two copper coins. It was all she had to live on.
- The story of Jesus is a story of trust. Society encourages certainty: be sure of your future by holding on to your wealth and saving up for yourself.
- The story of Jesus is a story of faith. We say that God provides, we say that God acts, but then we live as though we don’t believe that God will provide or act.
- The story of Jesus is a story of love. Acting without fear and being generous come because we love one another as God loves us.
- The story of Jesus is one of abundance. We often live with a worldview of scarcity fearing that what we have is not enough, not realizing the abundance we have is not only enough for us but enough to share with others.
- The story of Jesus is one of hospitality. We are urged into places that are uncomfortable and uncertain, and we are called to act confidently.
Jesus’s story calls us to trust God and to be freed in that trust. We believe that God works through us, and we are to help others feel that freedom as well. Even when we feel uncomfortable, we are called to see the stranger as a welcomed guest who is worthy of our hospitality and generosity. We have much to share no matter how small or large our congregation may be or how much money we have in the bank.
How will others know God’s story if we don’t share it with them? How will our congregation know the story of our mission if we don’t ask them to be a part of that story? How will our community know our congregation’s story if we don’t invite them in and give them a part in the story?
The scripture says to go and make disciples, baptize them in the faith, and teach them – tell them your story!
Associate for Stewardship for the Presbytery of the James