The Environment of Storytelling
Who doesn’t love a good story? Ever noticed the change in the pews when the pastor shifts gears and begins to tell a story? Heads pop up, folks sit up straighter, even kids stop goofing around. A story is a wonderful tool. As parents, we can use the environment of storytelling as a powerful method of getting our children’s attention. God has given us two amazing stories of redemption to tell our children and help put them on the path of the divine (so that the heart-changer, the Holy Spirit, can do His work). Now, the trick is we need to be sharing these stories with our children. In a world that encourages people to believe “it is all about ME,” we have the opportunity to tell our children a different story. This is God’s story, THE story, the one that is all about HIM....from the creation of the world to today to the day that Jesus returns. This mindset will have us swimming against the stream of culture. However, let us not miss the chance to share with our kids the greatest story ever told. In a culture of “heroes” who fall each and every day, we have the true hero - Jesus! And while we are not the center of THE story, we each have a wonderful role to play as supporting actors or actresses. We can tell our children, “You are a part of God’s amazing story! He has given you a unique part and given you gifts and talents to be able to play that part!” We can encourage our children to live expectantly, looking for how God wants to use them in His story. Life isn’t all about us, but it sure is an exciting adventure. I have a friend who put a colorful sign on their back door as a reminder each time they left their home. It read. “Who will God put in your life today? Be watching.” We can talk about God’s Big Story and how we are a part of it all of the time. As God instructs in Deuteronomy 6, “talk about them [these commandments] when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
The Kids Connect curriculum used by CCC does a wonderful job of storytelling. The Bible stories that the kids learn are not isolated lessons, they are told as a part of the tapestry of God’s Big Story! As parents, we should not be afraid to tackle explaining The Big God Story to our children. Remember, we don’t have to be Bible experts, and there are wonderful tools available to help us with this task. The book, Spiritual Parenting, and its accompanying DVD series (which are available at the media booth in the atrium) include a visual tool that we can use to tell God’s story to our kids. Also, Dr. Michelle Anthony wrote a children’s book called The Big God Story. This book takes readers from the beginning of God’s story to Jesus’ return. The Big God Story points readers to Jesus as the hero and places each of us in God’s Story as well. The Jesus Storybook Bible is another wonderful resource for Bible stories that each point to Jesus Christ as the main character of the Big Story.
The second story that we have the opportunity and responsibility to tell our children is our own! The Big God Story tells how God redeemed the world through His son, and our own story tells how we have been redeemed through the power of Christ. We assume that our kids know that we have a faith in Christ, but do they know how we came to that faith? If they don’t know how we got here, how can we expect them to know how to have a faith in Christ for themselves? Our stories may be simple or
complicated, “boring” or filled with twists and turns. Each of our faith stories is unique. But, God desires to use each of them. I encourage you to take time to think about your own story, maybe even write down your thoughts. Be prepared to talk with your kids about it “when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:7) We can begin to share parts of our story even when our kids are little. A conversation with my kids might start something like, “Have I ever told you about my friend Morrow and how I could tell there was something different about her? Her love for Jesus shined through.” Or, since our stories are each continuing day by day, I can share how I saw Jesus at work in my life today as He spoke to me through His Word. As we let our kids in on the fact that we have our own story and are each a part of God’s Big Story, they can start to envision the role that they play as well.
Some of us may feel ill-equipped for this storytelling task....take heart! Although we are never going to be perfect parents, we were chosen to be just the right parents for our children. And, we are given the opportunity to put them in the path of a perfect God. Praise the Lord!
Portions of this blog were adapted from "Spiritual Parenting" by Michelle Anthony