Friday, March 6, 2009

A revealing question

What won't happen if we don't do what God has called us to do? I've been listening lately to a leadership podcast from Andy Stanley. In a recent episode, he asked this question. From a leadership standpoint, it's important he says to get people thinking about a problem that needs to be solved, and that this question helps do that. I've been thinking a lot about it in terms of my own life, and in the life of Story Church. A couple years ago Don Miller gave a talk at Mars Hill (Grand Rapids, MI), in which he talked about story. That message is the basis of where our name came from. Anyway, he said that the way you tell whether or not a story is good is to ask the question, "What would happen if this story wasn't resolved?" He asks how would the story resolve if the hero got hit by a bus. He gave the example of his friend Jenna, who heads up Blood:Water Mission. What would happen if Jenna's story wasn't resolved? People would die. She provides clean water wells for millions in Africa, and if she couldn't continue - thousands if not millions would die. That's a good story!

I have friends who are living great stories. One friend gave up a huge career opportunity to go spend a few months working in a health clinic in Africa. Another friend is rescuing a whole generation of kids in one of the poorest communities in Guatemala. Another friend goes every week to hang out with his friends who are homeless in downtown Raleigh, for whom he buys boots in order to take care of them in the cold. Still another friend planted a church for 20 somethings who were burned out on a church that was disconnected with the world around them. Now they are providing food for families that are HIV+ and have adopted them as part of their mission. What would happen if these people didn't do what God called them to do? What if instead they pursued something else? Like the American dream, success, fame, money, etc. It's so tempting isn't it? To spend our lives trying to better ourselves, to have more, to achieve more.

What won't happen in your life if you don't do what God has called you to do? Who won't be mentored? Who will go hungry? Who will suffer from an absent father or mother? Who will be sick? Who won't be loved? Who won't experience grace and forgiveness?

For me, I wonder what won't happen in Durham if Story Church doesn't do what God has called us to do. What marriage won't be rescued? What family won't be redeemed? What person will give in to hopelessness? What addictions won't be broken? For many churches in America, we fail to ask this question, and the church suffers. We grow inward, we fail to connect with a hurting world, and we basically become irrelevant. It's not the way God intended His church to be. God invites us to be part of something so much bigger than ourselves. He invites us to be part of a bigger Story, one of redemption and hope. I pray that you and I and the church in America begin to realize this truth and to live for something more.


This is a great question to ask! Approaching Story Church this way will truly help to set the course for what God has called the church community to be to the greater Durham community... and could serve as a motivator to stay on that course for years to come!

I've spent the last 2 years developing Ask A Prayer for churches and have found myself wondering if this is "my story" or if it’s just something fun I like to do. It’s taken a lot of time to develop Ask A prayer and nobody is really doing anything quite like it but it’s not like I’m working directly with broken or hurting people. It's so easy for me to place value points on stories - Church planter gets a 7.5, missionary to Guatemala gets a 9, prayer software guy gets a 3, advocate for the abused gets a 10. Deep down I don't think God intended for us to think this way and I think the question you pose (what won’t happen if we don’t do what God has called us to do?) can help serve as a filter against this kind of thinking – thanks.

How many people won't be impressed with me if I don't get a vovlo?

I think this is the best post I have ever read on your blog dude.

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