Story is the essence of life. The world is desperate for those who can capture their imagination.
We have the greatest stories as followers of Jesus. We should be a fragrant aroma through telling and living the stories of God at work in our lives and throughout human history.
Here are several ways to be a story practitioner. Do this and I promise you will never be bored…or be guilty of the greater sin…being boring. Will you commit to making progress each of these areas?
1. Become a Student of Story. Here are a few places to get started.
– Create a culture of story within your organization. We customize a one-day seminar for the leadership level of an organization to launch a culture of story within your organization. Here is an example of the seminar. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Be One Who Lives The Story. Live fully into the story that God has for you. If you don’t have God stories occurring in your life, you’re either disconnected from Him or you haven’t developed eyes to see. I’m a fan of the book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” This memoir by Donald Miller deals with his realization he was living a very small story.
3. Be a Story Seeker. Watch a few films, TV programs, and news stories that are being discussed among your peers (within reason). As you better understand the personalities, motives, shortcomings, etc of the people involved, you’ll see “windows” that lead to greater and even ultimate Truth. When you’re at least moderately conversational in current culture, you’ll have the opportunity to share your thoughts about the good, the bad, and the beautiful in a situation. With a little practice, it becomes quite natural to bring light and truth into the open. You don’t have to watch every movie or television series, but you should read about what is the story currency of the culture at a given time.
4. Be a Story Teller. Write down your own “faith-awakening” story. Keep it under three minutes. Pray for one opportunity to share it each month. Eventually, you should be able to tell many stories of God “showing up” that will reveal the power and goodness of God to those around you.
5. Be a Story Sharer. When you see a great film, documentary, TV episode, or short film, put it on your favorites list. Post a link to your Facebook page. Tweet it. Tell others. I’ve got a small library of short films on my iPhone that deal with various real-life issues. In the United States, we’re beginning to see films appear in theaters that have an authentic faith perspective that is not altogether embarrassing. Tell friends about them; take friends to see them with you. When I travel, I always bring a DVD I can give away (“JESUS: Fact or Fiction?”, Magdalena).
6. Be a Story Creator. Don’t wait to begin creating a story. Dare. In the first few years of our marriage, Shirin would occasionally say, “I’ve got this idea for a story about…”. I’d stop what I was doing, put my hands on her shoulders, look her in the eye and say, “Honey, you know what writers do? They write. They don’t talk about writing.” One day the muse visited and stayed. Within thirteen days a rough draft of a novella was completed. Once she dared, she entered a season that would result in two novellas completed and two non-fiction works published in five years. If you have an idea, dare to write, film, photograph, paint, etc.
7. Take a Course. Start with our Story in Ministry course. There are also a variety of online tutorials or short-term training programs in writing and filmmaking. A variety of training videos made by those within the VSN community are available here.
8. Get Involved in the Movement. Learn from others. Get involved with the Visual Story Network.
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