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Your Narrative and The Gospel

A few months ago my wife and I had some conversations about our life's narrative as it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was most attracted to Christ after I learned that scripture called God our "Heavenly Father".
All throughout scripture I read the word "Father" with a freshness of finding a stream in the desert. I had grown up without a father and while I had some figures in my life from time to time I didn't feel that I had a father figure to emulate. As I saw that God was my father I realized that I now had a father who I could emulate, run to and learn from. So for me I found peace in that aspect of who God is. To this day I am asked if I miss having a father in my life and the answer is no... The main reason is because I don't feel that I've missed anything since I've found my heavenly father.

In speaking with my wife she shared with me that for her life it was exciting to see God as "a God of order and not of disorder". Her life's narrative is filled with chaos as a child and many things she won't talk about in mixed company. As a consequence her thirst was not as much for the 'father' as much as it was for 'order'. Based on her life's story, order was important.

If you tried to convince me to come to Jesus because he was "a God of order" I very likely would have run from you.
I'm not a person who enjoys pre-existing structure and conditions. As an ENTP and entrepreneur type I am always looking for a new and better way of approaching a problem. Especially problems that seem to be at a dead-end. I am a person who you want in the room to break up a log-jam of ideas or stagnant thinking. I'm not a long-term manager and I'm not a 'by the book' person. My wife on the other hand works in a fast paced law office where she loves checking lists and seeing that everything is done with perfection. Order is vital to her sense of fulfillment.

What does this have to do with the Gospel?

To be effective at sharing Jesus with this world we have to understand that we all bring our own baggage, preference and narrative to the story. I believe some of the most effective leaders are those who understand their own narrative and can see the aspect of God to which they most relate. It is not that your view of God remains at this one aspect... and it's not that each aspect of God takes the place for knowing Him fully... what I'm saying is simply that we all have a primary connection with Him.

So, what do you do once you know your life's narrative?
Put it to work.

Once you piece together your life's narrative you will see how the Father has been at work all along. You will quickly realize that you can most articulate an aspect of Christianity that someone in your community needs to hear. It's most likely that the people you are most suited to reach are a lot like you. And what better mouthpiece is there to highlight that aspect of Christ and the Kingdom of God? If you're waiting for your Pastor to preach on your narrative you may be waiting a long time. Its very likely that God has placed you right there among those people to tell them your narrative and how Jesus connected with you.

How do we reach a world of varied narratives?


I believe the way we can be most effective sharing the Gospel is to start with your own narrative and scream that as loud as you can. Not literally... but certainly figuratively. You will be most passionate about that aspect that draws you to the Father most. You will also attract people who relate to your story first. This is why churches from the culture tend to ride veins that already exist within the culture. Drug addicts will invite drug addicts, Stay at Home moms will invite other Stay at Home moms and so on. If you've struggled with a particular sin... I promise there are at least 100 people in your community who have struggled the same way.

So what is your narrative?
What ASPECT of the infinite God did your finite self find most appealing. Maybe it was that you keyed in on "father" like me or maybe you most appreciate "order" like my wife.

Maybe it's something far different. Maybe you are a merciful person and observing Jesus as the "healer" most attracts you.

Quite possibly you are a UFC fighter and seeing that Jesus wasn't a wuss has you excited.

Maybe you love the outdoors and seeing that Jesus seemed to always relate stories to nature is the attribute that connects.

I can't tell you what it is about the life, death, burriul, resurrection or second-coming that most stands out... all I can tell you is that you can beat that drum to the delight of others who need to see that aspect highlighted.

BUT THEN DON'T STOP...

Don't fall into the trap of only beating that drum.
Start listening to others and their story. If you establish kinship they will usually feel free to tell you what beat they need to know about Jesus.

I assure you, He's already on rhythm with their heart.

In addition to highlighting other aspects about Christ, be sure to reveal to them the fullness of Christ and His love. You know why?

Although I'm not naturally a "order" guy... I need to know that.
The Gospell isn't about simply knowing one attribute of Jesus... it's about connecting to one aspect and growing to learn and love the rest of those attributes so you have more connections to share with others.

Although my wife isn't most drawn to God as "father", she needs to know that aspect.
Our heavenly father is so amazing and powerful and expansive that to limit our view of him to that one aspect would be the like looking at Disneyland through a keyhole at the main entrance.


SUMMARY:
1. Know your narrative.
2. Play your narrative drum.
3. Learn the narrative of others.
4. Play various narrative drums.
5. Put together a concert of people following God at His rhythm.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 26, 2008

2 Comments:

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

This gave me some food for thought, thanks for sharing these thoughts!

 
At 8:11 PM, Blogger Remedy For This Heart said...

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