As a pastor of a congregation, I have been happy to encourage our members to contribute to Stories of Life over the past few years. While many worry that their story isn’t ‘remarkable’ enough, or they are not a good enough writer, those who have gone through the process have been blessed and encouraged by the experience. And they have been surprised to discover that their story is more interesting than they might have thought, and that with a little bit of help, they could produce a well-written story.
As a pastor one of my goals is always to help people reflect on their own journeys of faith in Christ, and to be able to communicate their stories to others. I have found that Stories of Life presents a wonderful opportunity to do this.
Many Christians carry with them the burden of a difficult experience (often an experience of serious injury or illness, a relationship break-up, or the death of someone close to them). There is much healing to be found in being able to put these experiences and the feelings still connected to them on to paper. I am continually amazed at how beneficial this is, and how many conversations it helps to open up. And, of course, if the story is published or read on radio, hundreds of others hear it and begin to think and talk about their own similar experiences.
Beyond the pastoral care benefits of writing one’s story, there is also a strong evangelistic benefit. Not only the stories of about coming to faith in Christ, but also the stories about personal struggles and how God was present in these times, provide a strong witness to the transforming power of Christ in individual lives. As a pastor I can stand in the pulpit and tell people that Jesus transforms lives, and I can tell those I meet about the good news of what God has done for us in Christ; but, in truth, there is nothing more effective than a so called ‘everyday’ Christian sharing their own experience of God’s grace. This is why pastors are always encouraging people to talk about their faith, to tell those around them about what Jesus has done for them. Stories of Life is a brilliant tool to help people get started doing this.
So, from the standpoint of a pastor, Stories of Life, and all the assistance and encouragement provided on line and via other means to the story writers, has been tremendous tool for pastor ministry.
I believe that every Christian has a powerful story to tell. Encouraging them to consider writing a story and submitting it to Stories of Life is a great pastoral and evangelistic opportunity.
by Rev Mark Worthing
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, North Adelaide
Feedback Month (till 30 June for our editors to give you feedback on your story draft)