Imagine 1,000 emerging Christian leaders, ages 25-35, coming from four corners of the globe. It became a reality last week as they converged in Indonesia for seven days (August 3-10, 2016) for the Lausanne Younger Leaders Summit. They came to connect, pray, and worship together with the shared understanding of the “Great Story”—the Redemptive Story. Ultimately, they came to be “united” to participate in sharing God’s Story to the whole world.
The greatest storyteller is the Master, Jesus Christ. It is his life story that we share with the world. Whenever Jesus introduced his mission and agenda, he used figurative languages and short stories. Many of his pronouncements are true to life stories. Every Gospel writer (Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John) recorded his styles of communication through stories. Often, he used parables to communicate truths.
Dr. Simon J. Kistemaker, Professor Emeritus at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, writes:
By using open-ended parables, Jesus drew His listeners into real-life situations and presented them with the need for a decision on their parts. Allegory in Jesus’ parables brought people into familiar surroundings and highlighted the mercy of God toward sinners… The parables Jesus taught are timeless and universal. Throughout the centuries they have addressed and continue to address people of all ages, nationalities, and races.[i]
I’ve seen how stories are a better way to communicate the gospel to younger generations. Young adults love to share their stories. So the story of Jesus Christ must be shared in this medium to be effective. Personally, I have left the “mathematical” and almost guilt-driven method of sharing the gospel. Having said this, there is a danger in being subjective by focusing on our own journeys, experiences, and stories. Instead, we need to master the Story of God and skillfully share the way Jesus shared.
Imagine these 1,000 young adults who have come to be mentored by Lausanne Movement coaches and mentors being dispersed to various parts of the globe. Imagine this new movement of young leaders released and equipped to tell the Great Story? Let us pray for many, many more storytellers. Maybe you and I are among them.
[i] Kistemaker, Simon J. “Jesus as Storyteller: Literary Perspectives on the Parables.” TMSJ 16/1 (Spring 2005), pp. 49-55
Sadiri Joy Tira is senior associate for diasporas with Lausanne and diaspora missiology specialist with the Jaffray Centre for Global Initiatives at Ambrose University and Seminary (Calgary, AB, Canada).