How well do you tell stories? Because stories aren’t just for children. If you’re a senior pastor or church leader, you need to tell stories to your church all of the time.

#1 – Tell Giving Stories

If you’re wondering what you should say just before you receive the offering in church, just tell a story. It could be a Bible story, or a personal story. Facts inform but stories inspire, and I can’t think of any time inspiration is more needed in church.

It can feel strange to talk about money. Telling stories takes the edge off.

#2 – Tell Volunteer Stories

Just like you must tell real stories about people who financially support the church, you’ve got to tell stories about people who serve.

Work them into sermons with a “by the way.” Profile them in your bulletin or email newsletters. Talk about how everyday people are choosing to give a little bit of their time to make a difference.

It’s not going to be professional or produced, but give a volunteer a microphone, a 2-minute countdown clock and let them talk about why they serve.

#3 – Tell Faith Stories

When children, teenagers, or adults put their faith in Jesus, you’ve got to tell that story. It’s really hard to beat “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Stories about life change remind everyone what’s at stake and why it matters.

#4 – Tell Baptism Stories

Anytime someone is baptized, you have the opportunity to tell TWO stories. First, baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Second, it’s a picture of someone’s new life in Christ. I’d say those are stories worth telling.

Maybe you could take a page out of the NorthPoint Community Church playbook and have people tell their stories on video just before they are baptized. That’s a big commitment and requires some hard work, but as a regular attender for some time, I can attest to the power of those stories.  Watch a baptism story here.

#5 – Tell Struggle Stories

Not every story you tell needs to have a nice bow on the end of it. Not only is it okay, it’s helpful to tell more “normal” stories.

The person who decided to give but hasn’t yet received a blessing in the mailbox. The person who is sick, praying for healing, but just keeps trusting. The busy people who don’t have it all together but still keep asking questions. Movies have conditioned us that stories have to be epic to inspire, but that’s just not true.

#6 – Tell Creation Stories

When you meet someone for the first time, there’s a good chance you’ll ask where they are from. We’re naturally interested in the origin of things.

How did your church come into existence? Why does a particular ministry exist? How did you become a pastor? All of these creation stories anchor your mission in reality and give people context for what they do.

#7 – Tell Mission Stories

Every time you hear a story of how the church is living on mission or accomplishing it’s mission, tell it. Point to something and say “that’s it right there…that’s why we do what we do.” Your mission has to be more than a cute statement on the wall; it needs to be flesh, blood and story.

Those are seven stories you should tell over and over again in fresh ways. How good are you at telling stories? What other types of stories would you add to the list?

 

So What's Next?

Feel like your church should be growing, but it's not? From someone who used to be a pastor and church planter, I know it can be frustrating.

Ultimately, church growth is up to God. But are we doing everything we can to ensure our church is healthy? How do we overcome the barriers we feel are in front of us?

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