The Power of Story
June 25, 2018
Stories are powerful. We intuitively know that seems to be true. Stories give shape, meaning, and context to the individual components that comprise a story. For example, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus obviously carries a lot of meaning but when viewed through the lens of the story of Israel that began in Genesis and is carried throughout scripture, we begin to see the depths of meaning that relate to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
A lot of new research has found that the human brain is wired to find meaning in narrative. As it turns out, we are in fact biologically predisposed to find meaning in narrative. When we share stories, we should be prepared to see those stories impact people in many different ways. Stories provide an opportunity for us to see how God is actively at work in the lives of people, organizations, movements, and the body of Christ.
As I reflect on times where I have shared the story of how God has worked through my life, I can point to times when those who heard that story were able to connect that narrative to what God might be doing in their lives. In one specific instance, my story provided an athlete with a framework for the struggles that she was experiencing as a result of a severe injury. The injury changed the trajectory of her life and hearing my story gave her context and meaning for what she was experiencing.
The same has been true when we have had the opportunity to share the story of what God is doing in and through Sioux Falls Seminary. Over the past four years, we have been given the privilege to share our story with seminaries, denominations, churches, movements, and individuals. God is good, and there is a movement of the Spirit sweeping through the various organizations involved in theological education in North America. Ours is one of many stories that can be told about the amazing work God is doing to bring about fresh expressions of theological education in North America.
As we have shared this story with others, it has been amazing to see what God continues to do in and through other parts of the system of theological education. One seminary was inspired to create their own competency-based theological education program similar to the Kairos Project and that program will begin this fall! We are so excited for them and can’t wait to see what God will do through their renewed passion for theological education. In another instance, two seminaries saw the partnership we have with Taylor Seminary and began to think differently about how they might work together rather than compete with one another! We give thanks to God for the spirit of collaboration that is being fostered in that area. Still others have heard the story of our conviction to make theological education truly affordable and accessible. As a result, their long-held desire to engage in the discipleship journey of theological education has been rekindled. At last, they have found a way to integrate their desire to know God deeply and the seemingly unreachable process of theological education.
All of this is to say, take time to reflect on what God has done in your life, the life of your organization, and/or the life of the movement of which you are a part and then share your story with others. You will never know how God might use the narrative of how he has worked in your life to inspire the lives of others.
We give thanks to God for what he is doing in and through this seminary and are excited to tell others the story of his good deeds.