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Telling God Stories - Issue #128

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"In the airport, I was feeling pretty smug about sacrificing my vacation week for clean-up work in Haiti. Once on the airplane, I looked around and realized the plane was full of other people doing the same thing. God was right there dealing with my pride and showing me how we all need to care for each other." As a member told this "God Story" one Wednesday night, the people at First United Methodist Church in Benton, Kentucky, nodded as they recognized the power of God's presence in this story and in their own lives.

The telling of "God Stories" began when one small study group decided to act on a challenge from the study material and developed a plan to increase faith sharing in the congregation. They approached the worship committee with the idea of including a three- to five-minute "God Story" in Sunday morning worship. Individuals are scheduled in advance so that they have time to collect their thoughts.

Another way of increasing faith sharing has been created with a slight change to the Sunday morning reporting of joys and concerns. Now the leaders ask, "Where have you seen God at work this week?"

As a next step, the congregation added "God Stories" to the informal worship time during the Wednesday evening programming. Younger people seem to especially appreciate hearing how people experience God in their daily lives.

As the church has shared stories with intentionality, personal faith sharing and regular attendance have increased. Led by the example of others' stories, volunteers of all ages are coming forward to ask for a turn to tell their God stories.

Some Questions for Discussion

  • Where are the places in the life of your congregation that people are encouraged to tell how they are experiencing God in their daily lives?

  • How are small groups in your congregation encouraged and empowered so that their study leads to action?

  • How might you be more intentional in creating opportunities for people of all ages to share their faith stories?

Betsey Heavner is Director of Leadership for Congregational Renewal at the Discipleship Ministries. She can be reached at [email protected].

In 2007 church leaders throughout The United Methodist Church in the U.S. were invited to identify churches that demonstrated the vision of discipleship described in the twelfth chapter of Romans. Over 200 churches were surveyed or visited. Issue #128. © 2012 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this page for use in United Methodist congregations.