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FOR THE LEADER:
We want to learn how to share our faith, and stories are a powerful way of sharing Jesus as a way of life. This section of Living and Telling is about our Spiritual Stories, and it should take 60-90 minutes to complete. Here we will begin to be equipped to share our Spiritual story, and to learn how to share it. The goal is to begin learning how to share our story and also to identify and understand the stories of others for the purpose of gospel conversations.
WHAT YOU WILL BE DOING
- Watch all six videos, (20 min)
- As you watch each video, answer the relevant questions pertaining to that video.
- Complete the exercise below by answering the following questions.
BACKGROUND Share the following to start the group session
Stories are found throughout history. As author and counselor Dr. Dan Allendar says, “Stories make up more than 70% of the Bible, and it is in the stories of our lives that we can spot God’s handiwork.” State the main points below one at a time, and where appropriate, look up and read the scriptures to your group.
- God is writing stories with you each step of your life.
- Jeremiah 1:5 He knew you before you were born.
- Psalm 139:14 He created you wonderfully.
- Jeremiah 29:11 He has wonderful plans for your life.
- Ephesians 2:10 He has good works for you to accomplish.
- Matthew 28:20 He is with you every step of your journey.
- Your story is unique and special because you were created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) That means you reflect God uniquely.
- Your personal story has shaped your life and your relationships:
- How you experience love.
- How you relate to others.
- Bottom line is that our stories enable us to relate well with others.
- We are called to enter into the stories of others.
- We can help others learn from their own stories.
- We can teach others about the great story of God.
- Matthew 28:18-20 Entering the stories of others is our vital mission.
- When you enter the stories of others, you are on sacred ground. Walk carefully and listen well. It is important to not judge but reflect their story back to them so they know you are truly listening.
WATCH THE MOTIVATIONAL THEMES VIDEOS
Watch the Discovering your Spiritual Story intro video. This will help set up the main idea for your group. Stories enable us to connect with others because most life stories fit within one or more of the following five Motivational Themes. As you watch each video, answer the questions included with that video. We included those questions here for your convenience.
Video for Theme 1: Peace · Satisfaction · Freedom from Anxiety
- Can you relate to Martha from the story in Mark 10:38-42?
- Are you outwardly busy but inwardly empty?
- Do you struggle with anxiety? Is there a lack of contentment in your life?
Video for Theme 2: Success · Significance · Ultimate Purpose in Life
- Do you find that among your friends that you are the most driven to succeed?
- Do you ever feel that you are not enough?
- How would you know that you have been successful according to Psalm 37:4?
Video for Theme 3: Belonging · Love · Acceptance
- Can you relate to the woman caught in adultery from John 8:1-11?
- Does a fear of loneliness overwhelm you?
- Where do you get that sense of belonging?
Video for Theme 4: Forgiveness · Sense of Worth · Freedom from Insecurity
- Which criminal do you most identify with from Luke 23:39-43?
- Does a fear that God is disappointed with you make you feel insecure?
- What gives you a sense of self worth?
Video for Theme 5: Pleasure · Happiness · Enjoyment
- Can you relate to the rich young fool’s outlook on life from Matthew 19:16-30
- What is the difference between happiness and joy?
- Would your friends describe you as “discontent with what you have” in a defining way?
SELECT MY THEME
After watching all of the videos, answer these two questions:
1. Which one or two of the five motivational themes “jumps out at you” immediately?
2. What is one word that describes your attitude growing up?
EXERCISE – BEGINNING TO WRITE YOUR STORY
Take 20 minutes to think about your responses to the four questions below. Write some words or phrases to answer the four questions using the sheet provided, then share and evaluate them with one another in your group.
1. What was my attitude before I took Jesus Christ seriously?
2. Why did I say “yes” to Jesus Christ?
3. How did I say “yes” to Jesus Christ?
4. What difference does Christ make in my day-to-day life?
THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOU WRITE YOUR STORY
- We want to learn how to tell our stories in a way that respects other people. We often don’t have time to tell our whole story in one sitting. We need to be prepared to relate short, interesting pieces of our stories when given the opportunity.
• They should be specific.
• They should be honest.
• They should be free of jargon.
- Are my answers to the questions above engaging for other people to hear?
- Do my answers create clarity of gospel message and explain how someone can choose to follow Jesus?
- Does my answer about my attitude toward Jesus before I followed Him actually help others identify with me?
- Is my motivational theme evident?
- Does my answer about why I said “yes” to Jesus indicate an intentional process of decision to follow Him?
- Would someone understand and know how to say “Yes” to following Jesus from the way that you have described your own process?
- Is the difference clearly because of God’s work and not my own?
- Have I connected the changes in my life to my motivational theme?
- Have I avoided making the Christian life sound perfect and trouble-free?
MY STORY WORKSHEET
In the following space use the four questions to refine your story so you can share it with others.
My Motivational Theme ______________________________
WHAT was my attitude before I took Jesus seriously?
Think back to before you were following Jesus. What gave your life meaning and purpose? How did you feel most of the time?
WHY did I say yes to Jesus?
What specifically was going on in your circumstances that you began to take Jesus seriously? Was it a crisis? A lack of peace? Try to think about the motivational theme you picked as most dominant. Ex. If your theme was pleasure, maybe you were bored?
HOW did I say yes to Jesus?
You turned from something else (maybe your motivational theme helps you identify what it was) and you made a conscious decision to follow Jesus. Identify the most significant time when you put your full confidence in Jesus and how you did it.
WHAT difference does Jesus make in my day-to-day life?
Why should someone else consider following Jesus, and how does He impact your day to day life right now?