Equipping Your Reimagine Journey
Recently I asked a man and his wife, "What is your Jesus story?"
The husband answered, "What?"
I asked, "How did you come into relationship with Jesus?"
As he looked at his wife, she said, "He asked you."
He stuttered through a few "Ah, um, well, I, uh ..." and then said, "I've always been in church."
When I asked the wife, she answered, "I was nine years old, and a mean old aunt took me to Sunday School."
I thought to myself, "Ah, the beginning of a good Jesus story."
She continued, "The next week I was baptized."
Arggggg! How can you have a Jesus story and not mention Jesus? Is mentioning Jesus "tabu" even in Christian circles? What are they teaching in church?
After this, I was meeting with a friend talking about how he came to know Jesus. His answer to me was the same as above: "I was brought up in the church." His story was different in that he said, "If my parents didn't take me, I went with my grandma." I pressed a bit further and found he did have a Jesus story, but didn't know how to explain it.
As I was talking with him, I formulated the following Jesus Story Pattern (JSP) for writing out or talking through a Jesus story.
1. Before - What your life was like before you came to know Jesus? There are two sub-parts: a) Life - How did you grow up? Were you part of a church or not? b) Problem - What was it that convinced you to seek after God? The problem is not to be detailed, but generalized.
2. How - It is in this section that you mention Jesus. How did you come to know Jesus? There are three sub-parts: a) Talked to - How did you hear about the need for Jesus? Someone most likely "talked to" you about your need for Jesus. b) Believed/acted on - How did you respond to what was said? What did you do as you thought through what you heard about Jesus? and c) Prayed - This is where you talked to Jesus about your condition and your need of Him.
3. After - How have things gone since? This has two sub-parts: a) Life - What happened immediately after? Are things going good or bad? What is it you are certain of since you gave Jesus His rightful place in your life? and b) Verse - Is there a verse which had or has significance for you after you started following Jesus?
A few days later I was talking with a gal who had visited the Lighthouse Airman Center on Eglin. As I introduced myself and talked about the Center, she asked if I was a Chaplain. I said, "No, but if you need to talk, you can talk with me; and if you'd rather talk with a Chaplain, I can get you in touch with one."
She wasn't disappointed, but seemed rather excited. "I'd really like to know about how to become a Chaplain. I've always wanted to be a Chaplain. Members of my family are preachers and evangelists, and I thought I'd like to become a Chaplain."
"So, are you a Christian?" I asked.
"Yes." She was emphatic.
I asked, "How did you come to know Jesus? Tell me your Jesus story."
"Um, I don't think I have one. How would I know?"
As I talked with her, asking questions of her background, it came clear to me that she did indeed have a Jesus story; she just didn't know to express it and hadn't been taught about the importance of her story about Jesus. As we talked, I wrote the above JSP on a napkin talking about each part so she could clearly know and be able to express to others how she had come to know Jesus.
Although I will talk to lots of people about this JSP, my plan is to present it to our Tuesday Bible study group during the September Discipleship Tuesday. My prayer is that as they insert their story into the JSP, they will more clearly know their own story, be better able to tell their story to others and have a tool to pass on to their disciples.