“How are you going to tell the story of what God is doing in your ministry?” It’s often the forgotten question in planning, but it may be one of the most crucial. Failing to tell the story in a compelling way often leads to confusion about the mission, apathy, financial struggles, dispirited volunteers, and gingivitis. (I might have added the bit about gingivitis.)
Being able to tell the story with conviction means knowing why you are in ministry in the first place. Think about your church or ministry and answer the following questions:
What makes this work that we do so essential that you would give your time, money, and heart to it?
How will lives be transformed by our doing it?
Where have we seen God at work in doing it?
What you uncover in answering these can then become an introduction to everything else you might want to say. Instead of making an end-of-the-year budget appeal, start by reminding yourself and your hearers of why you give at all. Instead of holding up a sign-up sheet for an upcoming event, talk about why this event is happening at all and why you are excited about it.
Paul’s letters are a model for this kind of story-telling. They often end with concrete instructions: Pray without ceasing, be hospitable, give to the needs of your brothers and sisters in Christ, etc. But the instructions only come after Paul has reminded them of what God has done for them in Jesus Christ and what God’s future looks like.
So, how ARE you going to tell the story? Inquiring minds want to know!