Today, I was at Watermark Church for Day 1 of the Echo Conference. Went up with three Bethel staffers (communications, family/downtown campus and worship/downtown campus). We started with some Mexican food and then hit our hotel. Conference registration was quick and easy. Our packets were comprised of small sketch books, a flyer and a lanyard for names and schedule.
We were directed to the coffee shop area where Sharpies were laid out on tables so we could fill out our lanyards. (They were also giving away free Twinkies. No, I didn’t eat one.)
Two surprises: saw an old friend of mine who’s now working at a great church in the Dallas area. It was so great to catch up with him! Then in the hallway, I overheard a guy mention he was from Lufkin, TX – my hometown!
Eventually, I headed for the first session. Took me awhile to find it (big ol’ church) but made it in plenty of time.
TELLING STORIES ON SUNDAY (Scott McClellan)
Scott’s on staff at Irving Bible Church and the former director of the Echo Conference. He spoke clearly and slowly, definitely a laid-back dude. He just wrote a book about the issue of story telling in the church. My guess is that the session was a quick snapshot of the book itself.
The session opened with a brief discussion of “the problem” – that we take the amazing narrative of the Gospel and rob its poetry in the search for finding a proposition. Scott encouraged us to remember the way stories have shaped our own lives and to realize that every one responds to stories.
There were two strong takeaways for me. Scott hit a series of quotes that explained what “story” means. He said story is…
Man in hole
Character, desire, perseverance
Intention and obstacle
People in pursuit
McLellan theorized that “faith” isn’t a story. It’s a topic. However, moving from fear into faith is absolutely a story. This was a great reminder of what matters most in the stories we tell – the change. We know that God is the reason for that change!
The other surprise was the breakdown where stories come from. His list came from a great perspective.
SCRIPTURE: The story of God, the story of us
HISTORY: Framing the present
POP CULTURE: The way the wind is blowing
COMMUNITY: What’s happening out there
CONGREGATION: What’s happening in here
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: What’s happening in me
IMAGINATION: True fiction (This is what parables were.)
VISION: A shared story of future hope