Now that I have been here at Bethel for 36 days (I probably will soon stop counting) one of the things I am discovering is the incredible people that call Bethel their home church. Many who I have talked to are full of passion, vision, love for God, storied pasts, and a love for people. As I have had the opportunity to talk too many of you, I have seen great evidence that God is at work. It has been very encouraging to listen and learn about the path that God has people on and how they are growing, struggling, wrestling and attempting (by God’s grace) to keep in step with the Spirit of God. One thing I am discovering in listening to peoples’ stories is that many of these stories have never been told. These many treasure chests of life lessons and experiences have not been tapped into by the rest of the body at Bethel.
I strongly believe that people’s stories are important. Not stories where there is always a great ending or where the prince finally gets his princess, but stories that show we are people on a journey, in process, battling, wrestling and over time experiencing God’s transformational work in our lives. Stories, I think, keep church real. They keep us from becoming sickly sweet (where people settle for pat answers and wear plastic smiles). Stories help us understand our own journey and help us understand other people much better.
I encourage you as you meet people at Bethel to ask them to tell you their story. Listen and learn. These “best-kept secrets” need to be told. You will be glad you asked!