Getting the Story
Vacation was nice. I visited friends in Colorado, Oklahoma and some time with family here in Texas. While in Colorado, I spent some time in Fort Collins just before the biannual conference of all Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) staff. I was able to visit with dear friends from both undergrad and grad days who are now working, as it turns out, with Cru’s faculty ministry, Faculty Commons.
On staff member with whom I chatted at a FC picnic was Steve Sternberg, who works at SMU. He told me how he has learned to hear people’s stories, and gave me permission to share it here.
People love to talk about themselves, and it earns their respect for you to listen, and often results in them inviting you to share yours, which is in effect your story of faith.
Another advantage of hearing another’s story first is that you can find touchpoints in their lives where the Gospel may find purchase. Jesus always knew what to say to someone because He already knew the details of their lives. Being God does have its advantages. Usually, the only way for us to get that insight is for the person to tell us themselves.
Steve identified five key areas in our lives that reveal the most important parts that tend to define us. In good sermon sharing fashion, they all start with the letter “H.”
1) What is your Heritage?—Tell me about your family background, life growing up, etc.
2) Who were and are your Heroes, from childhood to present? Who has influenced your life and how?
3) Tell me some Highlights of your life? Where/when/how/what were successes, mountaintop experiences, encouragements, inspirations?
4) What Heartaches have you felt? What discouraged you, made you question your worth, your dreams/goals, the valleys of your life, things that challenged/shattered your faith (in yourself, others, life, God)?
5) What are your Heart’s desires for your life? What goals or dreams yet remain to be achieved? What motivates you to get up for another day, and even have hope for the future?
If you have never thought about your life story, this is a great outline for pulling it together. Someone once advised me to have several versions of my story: the long version, a 10 minute version, a 4 minute version and a 1 minute version, so that I would always be prepared to share it in the time available. This has proved to be sound advice.