I’m really excited by your 100 Words stories that are being written and shared off the back of our Weekend Away. For those of you who weren’t there, Dave Hopwood encouraged us to tell our stories as followers of Jesus. The challenge is to do it in just 100 words! On the weekend we had the privilege of hearing some people’s 100-word stories. Now there’s chance to hear more on Sunday mornings.
Writing our stories
I think the key to sharing our stories in a way that is helpful is to remember this:
Then, it is a case of selecting what we will include in this particular telling of our story. There are so many different stories we could all tell. Sometimes it might be helpful to tell the story of how Jesus brought us to trust in him. Or perhaps to share how Jesus has shepherded us through a dark time in life. We want to keep it personal and relatable, while pointing the spotlight on Jesus.
Here’s an example — my 100 Words
Dave’s good advice was simply to start writing. Then we can refine our stories as the ideas and memories come. Suppose as a starting point I wrote these 100 words…
I grew up in a loving, churchgoing home. Life wasn’t easy when I was young though. Other children at primary school picked on me and hurt me a lot. I had to move primary school and I had other problems fitting in there. Things got better at secondary school. I learnt the gospel and began trusting more in God. This gave me the power to build better relationships and help other people. There have been plenty of ups and downs in life since then. But as I’ve kept on learning about God and trusting him, I’ve been able to succeed.
This is all factually correct, but it’s probably not the most helpful view of my starting to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus certainly isn’t the hero in this version of my story. I have used jargon words like ‘the gospel’ rather than telling you what Jesus actually showed me about himself that made the difference. This first version also doesn’t engage any emotions, when emotion is where stories tend to come alive.
So here is my second attempt, which (I think) is much more helpful…
I was bullied nastily at primary school. So, I started secondary sure I was unlovable. But God soon spoke his story of perfect love through the words of Mr M, my organ teacher and housemaster. He showed me, from the pages of the Bible, that Jesus loved me. Loved me especially when I did wrong. Loved me so much he chose to die for me.
Knowing this changed me completely. I no longer needed to hide or lash out to protect myself. The certainty of Jesus’ love set me free and still does. I am often unlovely—but always loved!
This time I cut out some of the introductory details and instead concentrated where the main idea of the story was: being loved. This time, Jesus is the hero—he is the one who found and freed me. As well as being factually true, this time the emotional truth of how I feel about Jesus and what he has done for me comes across as well.
Keep writing, keep sharing
Isn’t it brilliant that we all have different stories to tell! Each of us can share unique ways God has written us into his great story in Jesus Christ. Please do keep sharing yours. If you would like to talk it through with me first, then I would be very pleased to listen.