Creating an Environment of Storytelling

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

“At the heart of our Christian faith is a story…Unless the story is known, understood, owned, and lived, we and our children will not have Christian faith” John H. Westerhoff

 

  • A big component of the Help Club for Moms is praying with a prayer partner for 10 minutes once a week. If you don’t have a prayer partner,
    pray and ask God to bring her to you!! He is faithful and will provide!
  • Open your Bible to Hebrews 11 and read what is called the “Hall of Faith” in Scripture. What do you notice in each of the people mentioned in this history of our faith?

Creating an Environment of Storytelling

While today’s culture is telling our children that life is “all about me,” we can direct them to think about the fact that life is really “all about God.”

God’s Word is basically a love story—a story of the Divine Lover pursuing His created ones in order to have a personal relationship with each one of them. In His story, He is the main character. Sometimes I am tempted to believe that I am the main character, that the story is really about me— because after all, I am in every scene. But that’s a lie. It’s a lie that our children are told on every TV channel, in every advertisement, and in every song.

Can you see how dangerous Satan’s lie is? If he can get me to believe that this life is a story centered around me and my happiness, then I will see life as a series of events that allow me either to succeed or fail in this endeavor. I begin to subtly make decisions that will be to my own benefit. After all, don’t we always want the main character of a novel to be victorious in the end? We want her to succeed and be happy. The problem with this perspective is that life is hard and unfair sometimes. I can’t always control life, events, and other people. Then what? If we consistently tell our children the Big God Story, who God is and how He has chosen a part for each of us to play, we then realize that we can never play the role of the main character. When this happens, we are able to worship God and not ourselves. We are free to be who we were created to be: true worshippers in every aspect of our lives!

With this in mind, let’s consider sharing the Bible’s content in the context of its original story line. Often we tell fragmented stories of God, Jesus, or other characters in the Bible, and we do so in ways that aren’t linear. Even most children who know the stories of the Bible can’t tell you whether Abraham was born before David, or if baby Jesus was alive when baby Moses was. We teach Bible stories in isolation and often don’t tell the bigger story where God is central. Instead, baby Moses is the key figure one day, then Noah the next, and Jesus is merely one among many in this ancient storybook of interesting people.

However, by putting each story in the context of the main story—God’s story, we elevate Jesus, the Redeemer, to His rightful place in the story line. In the Big God Story, Jesus is the hero. We can tell our children the narrative of history in the context of the big picture, and create opportunities for them to put what they are learning into action.

Take a moment and think about your story. Think about your beginnings and your family of origin. How did God use the circumstances in your life—both the positive and the negative—to bring you to Himself? At what point or points in your life did you recognize God’s intervention? We are all sinners, and we all need a Savior. We all have been redeemed, and we all have a story. Of course God has a different journey for all of us, but as we live and share our faith experience, it gives our children the hope of something more, something bigger than the perceived enormity of their present situation.

Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that God is calling us out of the “way” that the world sees and does things and wants to reorient our lives into the “script” He has written for us. It is essential that we find our part to play in His story. From there, we can help our children to catch a glimpse of the storyline that they are a part of and to step into the role for which they have been uniquely prepared and gifted.

Blessings and Love,

Dr. Michelle Anthony

Questions to Ponder

  • When was the last time you told your “story”? Have you ever shared this with your children? What fears might you have in sharing it?
  • In what ways have you made “other characters” of the Bible more central than God Himself? How can you start today to make God the main point?
  • What roles do you perceive that God might have for your child in His great narrative? What unique qualities has He possessed him/her with that will build His kingdom?

Faith-Filled Ideas

Here are some ideas to help make storytelling alive in your home:

  1. Learn the Big God Story yourself. Purchase a chronological Bible and/or The Big God Story children’s book that I wrote and start working your way through the grand redemptive narrative.
  2. After reading any passage in the Bible or picking your child up from church, ask this question: “What do I know about God?” As you do this, you will come up with a God statement such as “God is Powerful,” or “Jesus is Compassionate.” Ultimately, this will shape you more than learning about what a certain character did or did not do in the Bible.
  3. Practice sharing your “story.” It is powerful and will encourage your children to see how God has used both the good and bad in your life to accomplish His redemptive work!
Michelle Anthony

Michelle Anthony

Dr. Michelle Anthony is the Executive Pastor of Families at New Life Church and Dean of Youthmin Academy. She is the author of Spiritual Parenting,The Big God Story, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, A Theology of Familiy Ministry and her newest book, 7 Family Ministry Essentials. Michelle has over 30 years of church ministry and leadership experience in children’s and family ministries and graduate degrees in Christian Education, Bible and Theology from Talbot School of Theology and and her doctorate of Education from Southern Seminary. In her free time, Michelle enjoys being with her family, reading a good book, and the beach while drinking a strong cup of coffee.
Michelle Anthony

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