Lately I've been walking a 5km route through a residential area, which obviously has a lot of houses. As I walk, I take a good look around to find ideas for my garden and to see who is out on the porch.
As I was walking the other day, the thought occurred to me that each family in each house has a story to tell. How long have they lived there? Why would they pick that house of all of them on the street? Why don't they fix that fence piece, or paint the shutters, or tend to the yard work?
There is always a story.
Then I began to notice the people passing me on the sidewalk. What is their story? They have one, I know. Why does that woman walk several paces behind the man who appears to be her husband? What is that student facing at school or at home? What is the young couple talking about—are they happy?
Then it hit me—they could be wondering the same about me. What is my story? Why am I out at this time of the day, and where do I come from? What does the look on my face mean?
Stories in Small Groups
As leaders of community, it serves us well to remember that each member of our small group has a story to tell. For members, sharing stories can be a very intense and personal experience, and it's not something they often trust to others until they have earned our trust. So we need to realize that helping group members share their stories will take time in most cases.
But it is worth it.
As a leader, there is nothing like learning the stories of the people in your small group. And as group members, our story is something we truly do long to share with others. Of course, we only want to share our story with those who will not pronounce judgment or ridicule us in any way. That's why we guard our stories carefully ...