At iGo Global over the years we have developed a MAP for our students as they return from an overseas experience. This Missional Action Plan (MAP) won’t help you find your home economics class, but it will help you continue to continue the journey to becoming someone that lives on mission day in and day out. Check it out.
Checkpoint #2 – Share Your Story
No doubt you have a story. You probably have several. And sharing that story is part of the process of continuing to live on mission. As you tell others what God did, you are constantly reminded of the Bottom Line, the Ancient Work, the Joy of the Sower, and the Hope of the World. And that helps you see your world back home through those lenses. So make sure you make the most of every opportunity to tell your story. And as you do, we suggest you keep these four things in mind.
1. You know the hero, and the hero is not you. As you returned to your family, your community, and your church we hope you were greeted with signs and streamers at the airport, hometown parades in your honor, and a good old-fashioned Sunday night potluck dinner at church with peach cobbler made by the Dorcas class. As that happens, tread lightly. It is really easy to shift your focus off the real hero of the story and make this about you. So as you get opportunities to tell your story, make this about what God did. Talk about how you saw God work, how God taught you, how your view of God expanded, and how your life is different now as a result of getting to be a part of God’s story among the nations.
2. Shout it from the rooftops. Figuratively speaking of course. Please don’t literally start shouting your story at people from your roof. What we mean is don’t miss any opportunity. If you still haven’t sent a newsletter to your support/prayer partners then do that this weekend before your schedule gets the best of you. Ask your student pastor where the best place would be to tell your story. For some this might be in big church, for others this might be to the youth group or a couple of the Sunday School classes. Be proactive. And yes, pictures on your Facebook profile can help you share your story. Post those pics, but read point #4 below before you do.
3. Begin with the end in mind. What is your goal for telling your story? Ultimately it should be to give God all the glory. Beyond that let us suggest you tell your story in order to enlist others. Who do you know at your college or in your youth group that would be great on an iGo trip next summer? Share your story with them. God has even used some of our students to get their youth group involved in missions. iGo does Group Treks as well. It can be a temptation to hold tightly your identity as the missions guy/gal. Instead, focus on encouraging your friends to join you on the journey.
Remember, every checkpoint comes with a detour that could get you way off course. The detour here is the reality that your story may not be as exciting to others as it is to you. Even some of your closest friends simply may not get what you did or why it is such a big deal. Keep in mind that you might have acted the same way before this experience and show them some grace.
Aware of this potential detour, keep this fourth thing in mind:
4. Short, Sweet, and Image-driven. You could probably talk for hours about all the things that happened on your trip. You might have 145 pictures to go with it. Whatever you do, please don’t put on a six-pocket missionary shirt and roll a slide projector to the front of your youth group room. When you have the chance to tell your story, keep it simple. Focus on the one story you want to share. Highlight 1-2 things you saw God do. Show them a handful of your most meaningful pictures. And stop. If you get no questions, you are done. If they want more, they will ask.
What about you? Share your successes when it comes to sharing your story. How did you share and how did it go?