The Story equips believers to know, live and share the gospelby C. Walter Overman
More than 70 pastors and laypersons representing 46 churches attended “The Story: A Regional Training Conference,” held June 24 at First Baptist Church Cornelius. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) Disciple-Making Team sponsored the event.
“For so many years we have had the idea that you do evangelism and then discipleship,” said Rick Hughes, BSCNC consultant for adult evangelism and discipleship. “The Story combines these two in a way that honors Christ’s command to make disciples as you go."
The Story is an evangelism and discipleship tool that equips believers to share the gospel through the overarching biblical story of creation, fall, rescue and restoration. Based on a relational approach to witnessing, The Story encourages Christ-followers to build relationships with unbelievers through everyday conversations and use those conversations to point to the central biblical story as the only answer to life’s most pressing questions.
“The Story is a great tool that you can use to share the gospel and also disciple people at the same time,” Hughes said. “It is designed to disciple everyone in the church and equip them to become disciple-makers.”
Hughes said The Story provides believers a simple framework from which they can share their stories and God’s story in ways that connect with people from all backgrounds and generations.
The purpose of the conference was to equip attendees to learn how to use The Story in their personal lives and how to train people in their churches to use it in their everyday lives.
“We don’t want them to simply take this back and leave it in their church,” Hughes said. “We want them to know it, but we also want them to live it and share it. When leaders live and share the gospel story, then they can disciple and equip their people to so the same thing.”
Tim Owens, associate pastor of Pinnacle Church in Canton, said he attended the training because Pinnacle was looking for a way to train their members to “live the gospel.”
“We are always looking for new resources on how to help our folks share the gospel,” Owens said. “We don’t think evangelism is about an event; it’s about a lifestyle. When I saw this it just jumped out at me.”
Owens said Pinnacle plans to train their small group leaders to use The Story with the ultimate goal of training everyone in the church who is connected to a small group.
“We want to disciple our people so that the gospel becomes part of what they do and who they are every day and not just something that they go on a mission trip to do,” Owens said.
The Story caught Owen’s attention because it is “relational based evangelism.”
He said the relational aspect fits Pinnacle’s approach to witnessing and that relationships are the best way for believers to gain a hearing in the broader culture.
“We believe that relational evangelism is one of the most effective ways to reach people today with the gospel,” he said. “We want to get our people away from events and get our people to share the gospel every day at work, in their neighborhoods and wherever they are.”
Owens said The Story is effective because it explains the gospel from the beginning of Scripture to the end, providing meaningful context to a culture that is biblically illiterate.
“The cross is important but there was a reason for the cross, there was a need for the cross and this tells the entire gospel story that I believe leads people to understand their need for Christ,” he said.
Discipleship is another important component of The Story, Owens said, because it not only helps believers share the gospel, but it also helps them see the gospel as the overarching biblical narrative.
“Our heart’s desire is not to teach people a process,” Owens said. “We want to help our people understand that this is the story that they have encountered and it’s why they are who they are in Christ today. From that they need to go and tell that story.”
The Disciple-Making Team will host three more regional training conferences this year: September 16 at Wilmington Baptist Association; October 4 at Mountain View Baptist Church in Hickory; and October 28 at Green Pines Baptist Church in Knightdale.
Each regional conference is from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and includes lunch and conference materials including The Story Guide Leader Kit. This kit contains The Story Guide Primer Edition (Workbook), Leader Notes (Booklet), a DVD Media Disc (Presentation/Videos), The Story Bible and access code to TheStoryTraining.com.
For more information, visit www.ncbaptist.org/thestory.