I have a few stories I’d love to share with you. Stories like Josue, who said, “Small groups have been God’s way of working in my life on the theme of building community and restoring real community and relationships in my life.”
Or Nicole who said, “Small groups for me are like family.”
These aren’t stories you can predict or craft. They are a result of community at it’s best. They are the result of God showing up where two or more are gathered and that’s why I love what I do. Plus, it’s good for your health to share stories!
This idea that we can live independently of each other and not share stories is foreign. Studies have proven that the more individuality and disconnectedness in our culture raises the risk of mortality by 29% and it negatively effects your health resulting in a cognitive decline. All because of a loss of connectedness. We were created for community.
Story collecting is both a privilege and a responsibility. We all at one point or another will hear stories like I shared. Stories fuel stories just as life change fuels life change.
But stories don’t have to be personal testimonies. They can be:
- Big and small wins- in one of our groups, Alpha, we say no question is off the table and no question is too small. The same is true of wins and stories- no story is too small!
- Life changes or glimpses of home
- Full pictures or snapshots
And stories build our faith!
Jean Luc Godard says, “Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.”
I have a story and you have a story. We have many stories and in groups- the beautiful thing is that our stories collide. They combine to make up a new story- a narrative that is a part of God’s narrative.
So, how do we capture these in 5 easy steps?
- Be Engaged with the Details- What did someone share in a group several weeks back as a prayer request that is now being answered? That’s a story!
- Change the Narrative- At National Community Church we are doing this series called, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and in Week 2, we talk about changing the narrative. We say, “When we know the story of God and listen to the stories around us, it helps us better understand the part that God is inviting us to play. We all have a story to tell about the work God has done in our lives.”
*Note: Sometimes, we overcomplicate or think we have to come up with these grandiose testimonies. But, we just need to share stories about the work God has done in our lives. Plus, big and small- those terms are relative anyway. What’s small to you may be big to someone else.
3. Make them compelling- cause people to lean in and listen more.
4. Make them inviting- give people a role to play.
5. Make them relevant- have them make sense in the world we live in.
So, let’s look for more stories. Create more common ground for community. Let’s take the time to praise God for the details that are found in sharing stories!