By Scott Parr, Pastor of Family & Mission, Christ Community Covenant Church

I love stories.  I love it when, at a gathering of friends or family, someone tells a good story — and then others chime in with “that makes me think of the time when…”  Before I discovered the power of coffee, I used to fall asleep listening to sermons at church…a lot.  Even though I love God, scripture, and good theology, if I were tired enough, I’d lose focus listening to the sermon. Until the pastor said, “Once upon a time…”  Something about stories captures our attention and sticks in our memories like nothing else.  Children’s brains aren’t wired for abstract thought, but they learn powerfully through stories. In my 17 years in youth ministry, I noticed a marked difference in the teenagers who had grown up listening to their parents’ stories – especially stories of faith, struggle, and trusting God with difficult situations.

Since the beginning, stories have been the primary way humans have passed on what’s important.  Much of what we have now as the Old Testament was passed on as oral tradition for centuries before it ever was written down.  In Psalm 78, the Psalmist writes,

“I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.  We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.”

So how about telling some stories this week?  Tell some funny stories just to laugh together and build connection.  Tell some struggle stories to build intimacy, vulnerability, and teach life lessons.  Tell your testimony of coming to believe in Jesus.  Tell as story of how you’ve seen God’s faithfulness in a tough time.  Here are some questions to spark ideas.  Maybe you share one type of story each day at dinner time?  How about a backyard campfire story-fest?

Here are some ideas to get the stories and family-building rolling…

Tell a funny story – to build connection and laughter

  • What was one of the funniest things that has ever happened in your life?
  • What was one of the most embarrassing moments of your life?
  • What is the strangest thing that’s happened?
  • What is a funny memory you have of a family member?

Tell a struggle story – to build intimacy and teach life lessons

  • What is a way you failed? What did you learn from it?
  • When were you most scared? What happened?
  • What was a very sad time in your life? What came out of that?

Tell a story of God in your life – to build faith

  • What was a time that helped you see that God was real?
  • What was a big step of faith for you?
  • Was there a moment where your faith in Jesus became especially important and personal to you?
  • Is there a Bible verse or story that has especially guided you?

Tell a story of God’s faithfulness – to build hope

  • How has God been there for you in hard times?
  • How have you or someone you know had faith though difficult life events? How has God proven faithful?
  • When have you seen God answer prayer?

I’d love to hear your stories of what this experience has been like for you!

God bless you this week. and please let us know how we can be praying or come help!

Scott Parr

Pastor of Family and Missions, Christ Community Covenant Church