If you are a missionary serving in the field, you are having an impact. The feeling of success may be slow, or it may be sonic speed of life change. Either way, you have an overwhelming desire to communicate the daily ministry to your ministry partners, who have invested in your vision and ministry. Incomparably, the best medium to accomplish that communication is through a story of life change.
Before written communication, God, in His wisdom, created people with a desire to remember the stories told to them. Stories are a part of our history; they are memorable and impactful. Stories are a unique medium of relating truth to another person. It’s one of the best mediums you have to impact others. Have you ever shared the story of how you came to put your faith in Jesus? Then you are a believer in the impact personal stories can have.
What kind of stories should you tell?
There is an opportunity to tell many different stories, and each can have impact on your ministry and financial partners. There are stories of need, illustrating the importance of your ministry in a certain field or people group. There are stories of life change, relating the impact that has been made because you and your ministry chose to invest in a certain people group. Focus on one story, and as your conversation unfolds, there may be an opportunity to tell another story.
What makes a good story?
There is an art to telling a story well. It begins with following a basic structure.
1- Introduce the person. This will be the person you are going to follow throughout your story. Tell any history or details, but be sure to only include details that relate to the life change you will communicate.
2- Focus on the barriers. There are hardships, years of investment, or possibly other life challenges this person faced in order to experience the life change you are telling about.
3- Unfold the life change. Begin to explain the life change this person experienced, and how your ministry was involved.
4 - Create a powerful ending line. Be sure to end the story well, and then be willing to leave the story there. It is a great practice to be able to end a story of life change in a way that causes the other person to continue thinking about what you said.
Most importantly, you should be finding true stories from your ministry that illustrate your vision and the values your ministry upholds. Most of the time, you have financial and ministry partners because you share a passion for impacting this world together. Focus on the stories of impact which clearly illustrate the passion which first began your partnership. Taking an opportunity to tell a story to your financial, prayer, and ministry partners allows the gospel centered part of your ministry work to shine.
What should you avoid?
The problem is not actually telling a story, but the Christian ministry jargon you continue to use with partners who have no idea what you mean because they don’t live in your world. Be willing to use business-world type words to describe your ministry, rather than the descriptors you typically use with your team members serving alongside you on the field.
Statistics can be another downfall. Those numbers can be helpful in understanding the need for you to continue to minister to a specific group of people. However, if you use statistics to relay the ministry’s impact of life change, you will begin to bore your partners instead of impacting them.
Effectively communicating your ministry can be a challenge. However, taking time to examine your ministry and find a compelling story can leave a lasting impact on others.