And finally we wrap up my introduction to what is coming, starting in January. It’s only a few weeks away.
We’ve chatted about how we’ll be using the first week to review the top blog posts from the last five years. We’ve talked about how the second week will be a time to invite you into my life as a campus minister and as the President of Impact Campus Ministries. Last month, I introduced you to a little bit of the history behind ICM and our mission, vision, and values; we talked about the third week being dedicated to casting some vision around our common language and culture at ICM. So what is going to be the topic in week four?
We all love good stories. Stories enable us to see a great idea in action. There is something unbelievably powerful about taking a concept and wrapping it in the flesh of human experience. And so, whatever idea we talked about that month (from the previous week), I’ll be finding a story to write about or share with you so we can see the idea with feet on it.
When we take time to talk about the process of discipleship, I want to find a story about someone who engaged in that process. What did discipleship look like to them? How did our definition find life in their experience? What pieces of advice would they give?
When we talk about our commitment to pursue (intimacy with God), what example can I find of someone who created space to pursue God passionately? What fruit was borne of that pursuit? What can we learn from those stories of success (and even failure)?
When we pull apart our value of excellence, who embodies our idea of excellence? How do they (and we) balance the tension between letting God bear the fruit and putting in an effort of excellence at all times? What does it mean to do our part and trust God to do His?
The fact of the matter is that we are surrounded by these stories every day. As campus ministers, we ought to be sharing the stories with others. The truest testimony to whether or not something works is just that: testimony. An idea is just an idea unless it becomes real in the life of another human being. A product is just a product unless it really proves itself useful to others. Nobody cares about whether a culture or belief system is right or wrong unless it becomes compelling to others through the lens of experience.
Stories are the most powerful teaching tools we’ll ever have. God believed in the power of story; He worked through Elisha to tell Naaman to “go in peace,” armed only with his experience to change the world of Aram. Jesus believed in the power of story; he turned down an eager applicant for discipleship, telling him instead to go home and tell others his story. These are instances where people lacked any training in theology or management. They were not equipped with what the world might have called “conventional wisdom.” But they had their story.
Stories have changed the course of history more than once. Maybe we should put more stock in stories; maybe we should put more stock in our own stories.
Now, storytelling is something most of us have to get better at. It’s definitely something ICM is trying to get better at. Please don’t let me overhype what’s coming. We’re not expert storytellers, but we’d like to be better storytellers, so we’re going to try. Maybe we’ll struggle through and maybe it will be incredible. There’s only one way to find out.
So for week four, I’ll invite you to a new series: Pull Up a Chair.