Scripture: Telling the Story of God’s Work

Scripture abounds in stories of God’s work in the world.

  • God provides: water in the wilderness, food in the desert, healing for the sick
  • God walks with people in joy and sorrow: Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
  • God shines light in dark places:a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it
  • Nothing stands in God’s way: not faithless kings or invading armies, not famine or flood, not sin death or the devil. Nothing.

In the words of Scripture we encounter a God of hope and possibility.

Many church bulletins and newsletters abound in stories of frustration and despair.

  • We’re broke: we’re behind on the budget (and have been all year). If that doesn’t turn around we’ll have to cut something.
  • We don’t have enough volunteers: the same announcement, begging for Sunday School teachers, runs for a month. Obviously nobody wants to serve.
  • We’re busy: long lists of events vie for people’s attention, with little clarity about what happens at any them.
  • We whine: guilt serves as a motivator to get people to act.
  • We work really hard: God gets barely a mention.

In the words of our publications we sometimes encounter people wishing that others would step up and make the church vibrant like it used to be.

Quite a contrast between the two!

It’s time for our publications to tell God’s story! Churches should be experts at telling stories of God’s activity, but many times as soon as one activity ends our thoughts turn to the next one, the next program, the next sermon.What if we slowed down and spent time reflecting on our ministry? What if we invited our people to share how God works through our congregations to impact their lives? What if we had clarity about God’s calling for our congregation? Then what if we shared the ways that people’s generous giving led to people’s lives being changed?

Imagine a congregation with regular announcements like these:

  • “I went to Bible Camp last week and experienced God in a way I’ve never done before. I want to thank the congregation for the grant that made it possible for me to go.” – Johnny Smith
  • Last week 75 people received food through our Food Pantry. One family shared how this food helped their son have a solid breakfast before going to school. This really improved his test scores. Your generosity made that possible.
  • “I used to think praying was really hard, something only really ‘faithful’ people could do. Last Wednesday night my small group experimented with different prayer types, and I felt a connection with God in a way I’ve never done before. We meet on Wednesday at 6:00. I’d love for more people to share this kind of experience!” – Imani Atu
  • “The kids of this congregation have great questions about God. I’ve taught Sunday School for the past five years, and every week they help me learn more about God. Who would like to join me in this journey of faith of helping our youth experience God in a new way?” – Maria Rodriguez

How do your church publications help people encounter a God of hope and possibility through scripture?

Reprinted from Fall, 2018 edition of River Crossings, a newsletter of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod

Rev. Pete Reuss