Telling the Story of the Journey
Whether it is told sitting around the campfire, or explained with pictures to friends back home, each hiking experience has a story. Stories are the means by which we communicate the truths we learned about ourselves and others. Cole writes, “their story, yours, mine—it’s what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them.” (R. Coles. The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination. p. 30).
People need opportunities to make the connection of their faith story to His story. “Human beings become faithful by living in a community of faith and by discovering what it means to claim its stories and values as their own.” (Vogel, p. 85.)
Evangelism, sharing the faith story, is a vital element in spiritual formation. How can we expect believers to share the story of Jesus Christ to a skeptical, hostile world, when they feel uncomfortable in sharing their faith story to the Family of God? The journey of spiritual formation must include opportunities for participants to share their faith stories and hear the faith stories of others. This is crucial to our task as theological educators. Vogel writes,
Those preparing for ministry today . . . may or may not come out of faith communities. But if they do not embody their faith family’s stories and rituals and lifestyles, how are they to nurture others in the ways of their faith family? (Vogel, p. 85.)
I am continually reminded of how little we know about one another. What are the significant spiritual events of my colleagues? What is God doing in and through those that I worship with? Spiritual formation groups should encourage the telling of faith stories. These stories not only build up our fellow pilgrims—the telling of our story strengthens our own faith as well.
In every Rockbridge course, students share their faith experiences with one another. They also engage in spiritual practices together. In their discussion forums, students share their of faith stories. Student evaluations consistently say that “interaction with other students” is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the course.
Upcoming Class in 2020-T2: Theology and Practice of Fellowship
This is a study of God’s purpose for fellowship and the doctrine of the Church. Students develop a biblical understanding of the church and how the church has expressed the purpose of fellowship throughout history. In addition, learners will identify select functions and forms of fellowship and examine various organizational systems for promoting the purpose of fellowship. Registration begins February 3. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.