“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.”

// Matthew 13:34  

Jesus knew the power of a story. He was the master storyteller. In this verse in Matthew we see that storytelling was Jesus' go-to technique when speaking to groups of people.

A story can break down conventional and cultural barriers and reveal basic truths about humanity. Jesus' stories often revealed a level playing field – for they illustrated that we are all the same, with our own unique fears, drivers, frailties, desires, dreams and hopes. We are all humans living in a broken world in need of a Savior, not judgment.

When we birthed our church last year, we were gathering as a small group on both Wednesday evenings for Dinner Parties and on Sunday afternoons in our apartment or at a restaurant. Early on, we began a Sunday tradition called ‘Sunday stories’, where we asked a specific person or couple to sit in the ‘(ugly) black vinyl chair’ and tell their story. The stories of brokenness and the redeeming power of God's grace brought such joy and evoked deep community in the room. As honesty and truth were spoken, often through tears and trembling, walls were broken down, and we became a family. We realized and were reminded that we are all the same. We all had completely different stories but they carried the same themes – fear, faith, anxiety, peace, grief, joy, depression, hope, rejection, love, judgment, acceptance, redemption and the list went on.

Community and transparency can be scary and sometimes downright humiliating, but on the other side of our openness and willingness to share our stories, someone else will be encouraged and spurred on in their faith. Telling your story is not about perfection, it's not necessarily about coming to an ‘epiphany’ or a deep revelation; rather, it's about glorifying God, whether through trial, success, breakthrough or just plain old brokenness and struggle. In a crazy world where it sometimes seems like everyone is trying to be someone else or be the person they wished they were, let’s just be brave and be ourselves. Let's tell our stories, have an ear to hear the stories of others, and watch how God uses all of this to tell His story.

Stories are being written right now. Every day when we wake up, there is a new story waiting to come to life. There is a fresh sheet of white paper, a blank canvas onto which God can use your hand to paint a beautiful picture of His unending love and grace for this city. Today, let's let our lives tell His story and captivate the world with the wonder of His grace and love.

// Georgie Kelsey