27 Mar Why We’re Called Storyline
When God called a few of us to plant this church, we weren’t sure what to call it. As the Lead Pastor, I knew the final decision would fall on me but the input from our launch team was divided. While this conversation was happening, I boarded a plane one afternoon and sat beside a high-powered businessman. He had the look and sounded smart as he tied off a conversation on his cell before liftoff.
After hanging up the phone, he looked over at me and I said hello. For some odd reason, we struck up a conversation. I say this is odd because I normally turn into extreme introvert on airplanes. Sharing the Gospel in flight is NOT my strong suit.
At any rate, I looked at the guy and the Lord gave me the following words, “So…what’s your story?” I didn’t realize what the question would produce. This man started in with his life story. He began with his business products, moved to his family, a failed marriage, and his heartache of losing his wife. I tried to ask probing questions and to see how long I could keep him talking, and I could sense that this was therapeutic for him to vent and get all this stuff out. I was a safe place—a complete stranger with two ears and attentive eyes. I’ll never forget that warm conversation and how God sparked it with a simple question, “So what’s your story?”
So what about you?
Being a pastor in a post-Christian culture can be quite awkward because the question eventually comes back, “And what about you…what do you do for a living?” In those moments, I feel very put-on-the-spot and wish to say, “I plumb. I’m a plumber. Or, I paint. I’m a painter.” But I have to be honest. I say, “I am a church planter. I am the founding pastor of a Christian church in Denver.”
Shockingly, the gentleman on the plane didn’t flinch this time. He said, “Really? What’s it called?” And I said, “It’s going to be called Storyline. We are naming it that because I believe that every person has a story, and every story matters to God. I believe your story matters to God.”
“Storyline” rolled right out of my mouth, and it invited further conversation. I happened to have my Bible laying on top of my bag. I grabbed it and asked if I could read a verse to my new friend. I read Paul’s words to the far-off people in Athens:
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:26-27
For the next few minutes, I shared my storyline, and the reason I had given my life for this thing called the Gospel.
I’ve lost track of my friend in flight, but months later, I received a message that he and his wife were reconciling, that our conversation had greatly impacted him, and that he was continuing to think about what we had talked about.
Who knows what God is up to in that guy’s life? I can only hope and pray that his story has folded inside the greatest one—of a Son of heaven being sent on a rescue mission to save people like you and me.
As you go today, be aware of the divine encounters God brings into your life. Welcome the interruptions and look for opportunities to share your own spiritual story. It matters.