In times like these, you need a story. “A story?” you ask. “A story? Why?”
Why? Because we are wired for story.
We are streaming stories every day on Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. When it comes to church, what is our story?
What story are we telling? What are we streaming? Are we streaming sermons and our weekly Bible Study? Is this all that we are doing? Is this all we have to tell? Are we doing more?
The local church is doing amazing ministry. The church is asking, “What is God’s liberative work in the world and how are we about that work?”
We are answering this question by doing ministry. Churches are doing real ministry, that makes a real difference, in the lives of real people. They do this every day, but who knows?
How will they know if we don’t tell them? How will the world know what God is doing through God’s church if we don’t show them? Yes, show them. This is the time for show and tell.
Show and tell is the ministry of this age.
In an age where the average young adult spends four hours a day on their mobile device–on Instagram, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and other media platforms–if the work of God is to be seen by them we have to post it.
The church has to stream to be alive. The church has to tell the story if the story is going to be told. It is time to tell your story.
If you don’t tell your story who will?
The church has gotten a bad rap and we have failed to reply because we haven’t told our story.
We have preached, we have taught, we have served, we have made a difference but we haven’t told the story.
A story, with a beginning, a middle and an end.
A story with tension and resolution.
A story that draws people in and has mystery.
A story with a good plot and good character development.
A story that is well told is well received and results in followers.
Followers. That is the order of the day.
Follow me on Twitter, follow me on Instagram, follow me on Facebook and subscribe to YouTube channel while you are at it.
In an age of followers, how do we show people what it looks like to follow Christ? What it looks like has to be answered by the stories we tell.
We have the cameras in our hands.
The most powerful storytelling tool is your cell phone and the movie editing software that comes with it.
We have what we need, we just have to learn how to use it, and then start telling our story.
People will be drawn to Christ and your ministry by the power of the stories you tell. Everyday stories of the most exciting place in town–the local church.
The church I pastor is in the heart of Atlanta and there is not one dull day in the life of Wheat Street Baptist Church! When we tell these stories people see what God is doing in the world.
They see God’s church in action. We are no longer reduced to a sound bite on the news at election time.
So what am I trying to say? I am trying to say that it is time for churches to use what’s in their hands. It is like Moses at the Red Sea. “What’s in your hand?”
It is that camera–that phone linked to the most powerful social media sites in the world.
The world is in your hands. Let’s use what is in our hands to tell our story, that is really God’s story, so the world can see what it looks like to follow Jesus Christ.
This spring, (April 23-29), the Tell Me Your Story and I’ll Know Why I Should Come to Your Church, Thompson Scholar Program, will teach participants how to create, show and tell their stories to the world! If you’re interested in becoming a professional storyteller through the Thompson Scholars Program, visit http://bit.ly/ThompsonScholar19 today.
Ralph Watkins currently serves as the pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta. His work and research centers around building 21st-century churches. His writing and research is done with congregations as they partner to be faithful to the call of being the Body of Christ. He is presently working on ways the Church can use multi-media approaches and web 2.0 strategies to be effective at evangelism and discipleship.