Let Them Tell Their Story

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AUG 4, 2021

I believe that the world is very short on one thing at this moment: Hope. Even though we live in what is likely the safest and most affluent age that the world has ever known, we feel empty and scared. We ae overwhelmed with information, and media on all sides of the political spectrum fuel hatred, mistrust and fear…

In the midst of this comes the message of Christ. No spin. No overload. Simply the Truth. That there is, in fact, hope. Not only that, but there is the possibility of a personal relationship beyond imagination. The possibility of a story where you can live happily ever after – forever, in fact. 

The people of our churches need to hear that – but not always from us [ie church staff]. Sometimes a congregational member telling a three-minute story about how Jesus changed their life can have more impact than the most brilliant sermon or the most artfully-rendered song.

Let the people tell their own story. They know it better than you do, and they’ll tell it better. No one expects them to be an eloquent speaker – if you put it on video, you can edit out rabbit trails or sections that don’t add to the narrative. A quick aside – Senior Pastors, I would encourage you to sometimes give up some of your message time to make this happen – worship shouldn’t always be the thing that is cut back every time an element is added to the service.

If you do this well, it’ll stick, and be impactful. For you skeptics, here’s some science to back up the power of telling personal stories [from the London Business School Review]:

“Wharton professor Adam Grant focused on a team of 60 university fundraisers. A senior executive delivered a rousing, ideological speech to a number of fundraisers about the significance of education in society and the importance of their work to achieve that goal. Grant tracked the performance of each fundraiser for more than two months. He found no change at all.

By contrast, when a different group of fundraisers spoke directly with a scholarship beneficiary about the practical outcomes of the donations – how a scholarship had enabled them to attend university or study abroad – the donations they raised increased by 295%. The face-to-face interaction with students clarified the impact of their actions.”

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