Rust & Story


“Let us run the risk of wearing out instead of rusting out.” – Teddy Roosevelt

I’ve always found it interesting that something can wear out when it isn’t being used. It’s common knowledge that a house that just sits without being lived in seems to deteriorate faster than a house that is inhabited. A car, or an airplane, or a tractor can be stored inside but it will deteriorate if it isn’t “cranked up” periodically.

What about the narratives and stories in our churches? If we are not actively seeking, telling, illustration, and celebrating those story lines our identity becomes lost. The Christian faith, nearly 2,000 years old with two billion adherents worldwide, owes its very existence to the power of story. Since Christ, God has raised up many great churches to serve as beacons in a dark world. But the greatest force in the history of our faith is still testimony.

Yet, I feel it’s getting more and more difficult to tell our stories, because they’re getting oxidized by things we maybe feel are more important. In fact David McFadzean the creator of the ABC hit television show Home Improvement recently said that, “in the years a head we will be charged with telling our story, but I feel we will not be able to because we’ll forget how.” I hope that’s not true, but I do think there is a sizable truth to the statement. I don’t have to look far, I can count on my hand how many personal stories or stories of celebration I’ve heard this last year. We must keep story at the forefront. People remember what they feel longer than what they know. There is nothing more powerful than telling or hearing a spiritual story. It’s no wonder Jesus was so narrative!

I admit I don’t really understand all of this. But I do understand the power of a story and somehow I remain convinced that God intended this to happen and that he wants us to keep achieving and growing and sharing our stories and his in new an unique ways for as long as we are alive. My prayer is we don’t allow our story to become corroded or obsolete and we learn to to use our voices and personal stories to communicate our faith. In the end it’s not because we have smarter teachers, better preachers, more money or bigger churches. Our faith will triumph through real personal stories.

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award–winning visual storyteller, creative director, and author who loves telling stories of the extraordinary. Make sure you check out his book Framing Faith, it helps connect the seemingly unconnected, see the beauty right in front of us, and revealing how to be present in the moment.

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