According to Hollywood Screenwriter, Robert McKee, “Story is not only our most prolific art form, but it rivals all activities—work, play, eating, exercise—for most our waking hours. We tell and take in stories as much as we sleep—even then we dream.” Story is how we make sense of our world and what’s going on around us. We relate to scenes from movies, television shows, and books because we can see ourselves in those stories. They become our stories.
When we read the stories in Scripture, we can see ourselves in those stories. The Nation of Israel’s rebellion against God becomes our story of rebellion. When we read about Jesus’ trials in the desert, we find encouragement for when we find ourselves in the desert place. Peter’s denial becomes our denial and in his restoration on the shore, we find hope for our own restoration. Jesus would use story frequently when speaking to people. Through stories about fishing nets, mustard seeds, and lost sons, we catch glimpses of God’s Kingdom and His love for us.
In Middle School Ministry, we need to become storytellers. We need to spend time in God’s story revealed in Scripture so that we can then share those stories with students. When we tell God’s story, we need to use not only our words, but our actions as well. We can’t tell them the story of the Good Samaritan, unless we are becoming the Good Samaritan. Instead of just telling Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and Goats, we can live like sheep. When we tell these stories, we can help students discover the connections between God’s story and their own.
We also need to know our own stories. Stories about how we’ve stumbled or wandered away from God. Stories about how we’ve drawn closer to our Creator. Stories about what we were like as middle school students. Stories of the people and circumstances that have changed our lives forever. We need to know these stories and tell them… tell them often.
We also need to raise up another generation of storytellers. Young men and women who will take God’s story into their schools and relationships. We need to help draw out the stories that are being told in their lives and equip them to share their story with those around them.