Sharing the Gospel through Story
When we look at God’s redemptive narrative that is depicted in the Bible, we see an amazing story that is all about God. The plot summary reads: Scene One: God Creates, Scene Two: Man Falls, Scene Three: God Redeems and Scene Four: God Consummates. We now live between scenes three and four. We live in light of God’s redemption with the unrelenting hope that, in His consummation, He will make all things new.
In most of the stories we see on our small and big screens, we interact with traces of God’s bigger story. In The Stories We Tell by Mike Cosper, he asserts, “Our stories have a way of fitting into the bigger story of redemption that overshadows all of life and all of history. Because that bigger story is the dirt box in which all the other stories play.”
Stories provide a natural transition into the gospel. Here are a few motifs that can easily be turned in to gospel conversations:
-When we interact with a story in which the writer fascinates the audience with their imagination, we can point back to creation. This conversation with your protégé might go like this: “If God could design a human being to create a movie with such creativity and imagination, we can only begin to wonder how creative God must be. I mean just look at the creation of the world…”
-When we interact with a story in which there is major conflict between the characters, we can point back to the personal and cosmic conflict created in the fall.
-Stories with redemptive heroes can be used to point back to the ultimate redeeming hero in Jesus.
-Stories that feature marriage become a great opportunity to talk about Jesus and his bride the church in the great consummation.
The beauty of honing in on one specific aspect of a movie or story is that, as you discuss how it plays into God’s story, you will become “forced” to explain God’s redemptive narrative from beginning to end.
Sharing the Gospel through culture
Culture has been loosely defined by scholars as what we make of the world. In Andy Crouch’s Culture Making, he builds the case that the first culture was made in Genesis 2:19: “Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” In this passage, we see God giving Adam the delegated authority to create in his pre-fallen world in his naming of the animals. From Adam’s “naming” back then to our culture-making today, we continuously seek to cultivate in the world made by God.
As mentors hangout with their protégés, they can use the various cultures of Dallas to point back to God, the original cultivating creator. For example, we can lead our protégés to a gospel conversation by saying “Klyde Warren Park is an oasis in the midst of the chaos of the city. As mankind (the creator of the park) has sought to bring order and peace into the disorder, we are only replicating our creator. In Genesis 1 and John 1, we see a creator who always existed, who brings light into darkness and who creates order in disordered situations…” Or, as we interact with the highly sexualized culture which is displayed in media and marketing, we can point our protégés to the distorted view of sex that began in the fall. This distortion has been redeemed in Jesus and will be consummated in our future hope. I would encourage you to also be willing to engage the brokenness that your protégé interacts with and point them to the hope of Jesus’ soon coming restoration of all things.
Sharing the Gospel with your protégé will not be easy. However, the conversation is very important. Whether that conversation happens directly or indirectly, your faithfulness in sharing could be the seed God uses to draw your protégé to Himself. Be encouraged– I pray that God gives you the words, wisdom and wherewithal to share His good news.
This blog is the third of three parts, be sure to check out “How to Share the Gospel to your protégé parts 1 and 2.”
Zach Middleton, Relationship Coordinator