Guarding The Narrative, Part 2

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In my last post I spoke about the importance of guarding the narrative of your church plant – making sure you tell your story and not another church’s story.  This time let’s look at some practical ways of doing that.

Some things to consider in this endeavor; what are you putting on social media?  This should be more than just announcements or information; social media is a great place to regularly post little nuggets about transformation being seen in your church.  Your people see it, like it, share it, favorite it, and the more they see those things the more those stories of transformation become their narrative about their church.  I saw where one of our leaders was participating in IJM’s “Dressember” where she wore dresses every day of December and wrote Facebook posts about it in order to raise awareness of human trafficking around the world.  Well that fits our church’s value of “claiming our mission from Jesus” which we talk about a lot – don’t wait for the church to program mission, go live missionally.  So when I saw what she posted, I shared it and wrote, “See how this Christ Fellowship member is claiming her mission from Jesus.”  It took two seconds, I got to state a huge value of our church, encourage one of my leaders, and tell a story from our church.

Another place is in Worship taking a moment to highlight parts of your narrative.  Like the announcements, don’t just tell what you’re doing tell why you’re doing it and how it’s transforming lives, how it connects to your vision.  During the offering, connect the act of giving to life transformation your church is seeing, don’t just pass the basket, share a quick story or have someone give a quick “life change” testimony about how the church has impacted them.  The sermon is another place; use sermon illustrations about things happening in your church that fit your vision, the story your church is trying to tell.

As I mentioned in the last post, I have lots of folks pull me aside and make suggestions for things we should do.  Any time I’m talking with someone from our church I’m looking for a chance to talk about our vision and why we have to stay completely focused on that.  Their idea is probably a really good one but unless it helps us do the one thing we are here to do, perhaps it’s best left undone for now.  I end up saying the same things and telling the same stories over and over again, but I’m ok with that, because I want my people telling those same stories to their friends, I want our narrative of transformation and connection to God through Jesus Christ to be their narrative as well.

In the end you want one story about your church, and so that means you have to move away from the other stories.  Jesus wasn’t afraid to redirect the conversation in order to guard the narrative because he knew that his mission was that important.  We need to follow suit.

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Adam is the Senior Pastor at Coker United Methodist Church in San Antonio, TX and previously the planting pastor of Christ Fellowship UMC. He has served churches in Lubbock, Houston, and San Antonio. Adam is passionate about the Wesleyan movement and it’s focus on evangelism, discipleship, and mission and he tries to lead Coker UMC in that same tradition. Adam holds a Bachelors Degree from Texas Tech University, a Master of Divinity Degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and he is an ordained Elder in the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church and the Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry for the conference. He is married to Brittney and they are the parents of Rylan (6) and Laurel (3).

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