We Are the Stories We tell Ourselves

I think it was Mike Frost i heard say this – the things that we talk about actually shape our identity quite profoundly.

Tonight we took some time to refocus on who we are, what we are doing and where we are headed. We do it fairly regularly and I often lead the group thru this. Tonight we iintentionally hit it from a different angle so for those who are interested in alternative ways of sharing vision here’s what we did.

As most of the team know I am often off at other churches and conferences speaking about what we are doing and learning in suburban mission. Trying to offer learning and hope while ‘keeping it real’ (all in 25 minutes sometimes!) is quite a challenge.

So I thought I’d pose that challenge to the crew.

We split the group in half and each group was given 8 sheets of paper and a set of 50 picture cards (made from flickr and webshots)

Their task was to develop a presentation they would make to a church who enquired about what we are doing in Brighton. In many ways doing this is a test of whether we are all singing from the same sheet, so it can be a gamble! Fortunately after 4 years we have developed a fairly clear shared sense of identity and it was good to see clear themes emerge in the presentations.

Each group had to:

a) Choose an overarching biblical text to frame our work

b) Choose an image per ‘point/learning’ and then use no more than six words to describe their ‘point/learning’

c) Choose a story to tell in relation to the learning.

Here’s a summary of what each group said (minus images)

– 1 Corinthians 13 “If I do XYZ, but don’t have love I am nothing”

– Narrow the gap (between those in the community and the church)

– Love God

– Love one another

– Love the world

– Go hard or go home

– Choosing to live counter-culturally

– Persevere

– John 1:14 The word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood

– Community – God, us, other

– Leaving the familiar behind

– Taking risks

– Listening to God

– Serving

– Counter-cultural living

Its great to see the same themes emerge and to know that the DNA of who we are is firmly embedded in the group. If I were re-affirming our vision I would have hit on some very similar themes, but the actual exercise of getting others to do it forces them into a process of distillation and assessing what is critical and what is peripheral.

In the process we were able to share some great stories, have some laughs and feel focused again in what weare doing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *