As Lead Storyteller at The Austin Stone, I’m often asked, “Why do you tell stories at the Austin Stone? Why does a church put so much time, energy, effort and resources into a storytelling ministry?”
The answer is simple. We tell stories at the Austin Stone for two reasons:
- To inspire the Church to worship Jesus Christ for who he is
- To help us remember what he has done
When we as a church tell honest and encouraging stories of gospel transformation, we are actually leading our people in worship. I tell our storytellers all the time that they are worship leaders, and the stories that they tell help lead people in worship.
I can say this because of what the psalmist says to us in Psalm 102:18: “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”
If you read through Psalm 102, it’s not the most uplifting and encouraging psalm. The Psalmist who wrote this had just been rescued by God from a terrible situation, and God commanded him to write it down. God told him to write this down so that people not even born yet will read about it and worship God for what he has done.
Every story that we tell at the Austin Stone—whether it is through the written or spoken word, photography, or through a film—is leading people to worship Jesus for who he is, and what he has done.
We tell these stories to stir our hearts’ affections for God, to move us to worship him, and to give him all the glory that he deserves.
Stories not only move us to worship Jesus, but they also help us to remember what he’s done in our lives.
We are a forgetful people. We are an amnesiac culture. We can’t remember anything, and the saints of God who came before us were plagued with this same problem.
Just look at the people of Israel. God would rescue them, they would worship him for what he did, and then they would soon forget about. They would start to worship their own idols, God would discipline them, and then they would repent. He would restore them again, they would worship him for what he did, and then they would forget. On and on, and on, this cycle continued.
God got so tired of them forgetting the great things he had done in their lives, that he commanded many of them to build ebenezers to help them remember. He told his people to take a bunch of rocks and form them into a pile, so that every time they walked past that pile of rocks, they would be reminded of what God did in their lives at that specific time, and in that specific place.
We see this in the life of Joshua. God commanded Joshua and his people to carry 12 stones on their backs as they crossed the River Jordan. God knew his people would soon forget, and he wanted those stones to serve as a permanent reminder of his faithfulness and goodness in their lives.
We, just like the Isrealites, are a forgetful people, and we need to be constantly reminded of God’s faithfulness in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.
This is the heartbeat of Story Team. This is why we do what we do.
As a community of storytellers, we believe that by telling honest and encouraging stories of gospel transformation, we are creating modern-day ebenezers that will inspire both us and generations to come, to worship Jesus Christ for who he is, and to help us remember what he has done.
Feature image by Jordan Vonderhaar