Every Story Matters – Especially Yours

Why focus on evangelism? Because every story matters –especially yours.

This fall we are inviting the people of Plymouth to pay attention to their stories. The stories we tell about ourselves have enormous power. We use stories to make sense of our lives and of the world around us. We use stories to understand who we are, why we are here and what we think we are supposed to do. The stories we tell shape the people we will become.

Evangelism is all about our stories.

Several years ago, this congregation engaged in an intensive process of strategic planning. We claimed our core values; we also identified some growing edges. One of our perceived areas of weakness was evangelism. We weren’t quite sure what it was, but we knew that we weren’t very good at it. We wanted to get better.

But that is a tall order. Evangelism is tricky for progressive people of faith. We know for sure what we do not want to do. We do not want to proselytize. We do not want to train the people of Plymouth in arm-twisting, street-corner preaching or high-pressure sales tactics. We do not want to annoy our family members, bother our co-workers or harass our neighbors about their beliefs.

We want to do evangelism, but we don’t want to be obnoxious. And that is where story comes in.

Here is what I have come to believe about all of this: You have a story. You have a story that only you can tell. You have a story, and that story is worth sharing.

What if you could become a little more articulate about the part God has played in shaping your story? What if you could learn to look back over your life and start to recognize the sometimes subtle ways that God has worked with you, spoken to you, drawn you along? What if you could grow more comfortable sharing your story about God’s love and God’s goodness to you?

That would be evangelism. That is something people at Plymouth could learn to do. So that is what we’re after this fall. We want you to share your story.

And let me be clear: this is not really about church growth. I believe it could lead to church growth. If you learn your own story, and grow more comfortable sharing that story, I think it is entirely possible—I think it is even likely—that you will, almost by accident, start drawing new people into Plymouth Church. Our stories are surprisingly compelling. Sharing them could lead to church growth.

But that is not why we are inviting you to share your story. We are doing this because your story matters. Your story is a piece of the puzzle. Your life tells some truth about God — some small but significant truth that I will never know, unless you tell me. Unless you share your story.

Please come along on the journey this fall. Join us at Plymouth Church as we learn to share our stories. Participate in worship. Attend my evangelism class. Check out a small group where people will share their stores. Plan to be part of the Connect event on September 27 and, while you’re at it, plan to bring a friend.

Every story matters. Especially yours. And this fall just won’t be the same without you.

Grace and Peace,
Matt Mardis-LeCroy

For more stories, check out Welcome Visitors, Telling Our Stories for recaps of stories Plymouth people have shared in recent issues of the Contact.

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