Every year on Good Friday, there’s an open-air performance of the Passion of Jesus in London’s Trafalgar Square. Thousands of spectators line the steps of the National Gallery to watch actors in period costumes retell the greatest story, with Big Ben in the background.
Forty minutes into the play, a Roman soldier grabs an audience member sitting on the steps and forces him to carry the cross. As Jesus hobbles by in his loincloth, fake blood and British accent, a guy in jeans and a running jacket carries the cross. The story is no longer ancient or foreign. It’s suddenly about you.
An effective story team practice is telling the stories of the people in your church. That seems like a given, but if you’re just starting a team, or if you’re working with new writers, you may end up with something closer to a press release or an editorial than a story. Or you may be tempted to tell more stories about your church leaders than about your people.
The Austin Stone Story Team engages its audience by telling their stories. We tell stories of people in our church who are living on mission, caring for the orphan, and fighting for justice. We focus on why the guy sitting right next to me will go to the nations, or why he took a development class, gave sacrificially, adopted a child, or ended his affair. Story Team tells stories that authenticate the gospel that we preach on Sundays.
Seeds come from the harvest
Fully grown wheat produces seeds, which are then planted and become the next harvest, from which come more seeds that become the next harvest.
So when we’re looking for stories about the people in the audience, we’re looking for seeds from the harvest that will in turn produce another harvest. Who is bearing fruit? Where do we see fruit multiplying? Or where do we want to see fruit multiplying? Those are the stories we want to tell.
Feature image by Jordan Vonderhaar