Premier Episcopal blogger Father Jake attended our Diocesan convention at Lake Tahoe last week. It was exciting to finally meet him in person! As he told the story of his own journey through an almost impossible childhood and youth into faith and service, there was a profound stillness in the large convention room. I found myself wanting to reach into the past to the boy he was and tell him everything was going to be alright. He brought closure to the past by speaking of how he found the blessing in what he had gone through. A very wise friend once told me that healing begins when we can find the gift in pain we have experienced.
The part of his message I am still pondering is when he said all our efforts at attracting people into the Church such as improved signage, advertising, visitor-friendly bulletins, etc., are mainly for those who already have some kind of a church experience in their background. He pointed out many children are being raised by parents who themselves have had no contact with even the simplest stories of the Christian tradition, such as Noah and the Flood. In reaching out to them, his recommendation was simple: Tell your story.
In sharing his own story of what God had done for him, he drew us in. Given the choice between “show and tell,” Fr. Jake didn’t just tell us about faith, he showed us by taking us back through his own life. His challenge to us was to go and share ours. How simple. No focus groups or mass media buys – just go and tell your own story of what God has done for you.
If you have not had the pleasure of being a regular reader of Fr. Jake’s blog, I highly recommend it. You can find it here: Father Jake Stops the World.