Creating a Culture of Story

“When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories. He told them, ‘You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. These are people—

Whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Whose ears are open but don’t understand a word,
Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven.’”
(Mark 4:10-12 from The Message)


Raising up the church out of the culture means helping people who are not yet the church become all God intended them to be.  They are the people, according to Peterson’s translation, “who can’t see it yet.”  How do you “create readiness”  or “nudge them toward receptive insight?”  I love how he says this, “everything comes in stories.

Here a few ideas for creating a culture of story in your new church:


Value stories enough to capture them.  In the early days of a church plant there are so many things going on that great stories get lost.  It’s like the great vacation that was so full of fun and memories that you forgot to take pictures.

  • Keep a journal
  • When someone tells you a story, ask them to send it in an email
  • Almost every phone has video camera, record people telling their stories

Build stories into all your communication.  We have more communication channels than ever.  Most of what get’s distributed is pointless and powerless. Leverage all of your communication channels to tell stories.

  • Include stories in newsletters whether they are print or electronic
  • Capture stories on video, post them to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
  • Make it a goal to Include storytelling in every personal conversation
  • Use your gathering to highlight stories that shape culture and inspire action

Repeat the stories that build your values.  The stories you tell until others repeat them are the ones that will shape your culture.  Don’t let a story shape your culture just because it’s cool, or powerful or inspiring.  Choose the stories that clearly embody your values and then tell them as often as you can.


Remember that stories will communicate God’s grace truth and love more powerfully than your best exposition.    Jesus could have exposited Ezekiel 37. Instead he told the stories of the lost coin, lost sheep and lost son.  And told his disciples “to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories.”

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