It was a pleasure to introduce Bible Storying and key orality issues to more than 125 independent church pastors in Canada. In a Question & Answer time, I asked, “How will you begin to implement this in your church?” There was a chuckle in the room. It had me curious, but I waited for an answer. Finally, a pastor spoke up and said, “We’ll just go home and tell our leaders to switch over to this new method of disciple-making!”
In the church traditions with which I was familiar, change like this would take several years. And making a dictatorial change among Bible study leaders would bring outright rebellion.
So where’s the middle-ground between a top-down directive and a welcomed shift?
In Truth That Sticks, Avery Willis and I noted that in Post Falls, Idaho, Real Life Ministries took a three-year change-over process. In the first year, their pastors used Bible Storying in staff meetings and in their own small groups. The second year it was offered church-wide. Celebrations were noted and publicly praised as lives were changed and new small groups launched. And the third year, there were enough “wins” that the staff required the remaining small groups to begin using Bible Storying methods.
Ike Riechard, an Atlanta pastor, spoke about bringing change at a conference that I attended and said, “Your level of trust determines your speed of change.” He added, “People don’t buy what you say you do. They buy what you do.” That’s why so many of us say that with disciple-making more is caught than taught. We must lead by example.
Paul wrote, “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Corinthians 14.40 NASB). Your church’s level of orderliness and change will vary, but moving to relational disciple-making using Bible Storying is a goal worthy of the added stress, equipping, and explanations you’ll need to make along the way!