Part 4: How do I communicate the Sticky Faith vision to others?
Note: This is Part 4 of a multi-part series. Check out the entire Making Changes Stick Toolkit for more ideas you can use today to help lead change in your ministry.
According to Dr. Scott Cormode at Fuller, vision can be defined as a “shared story of future hope.” It’s about inviting people to participate in a new story that is created by weaving together your story, my story, and the biblical story. This is the reason listening is so important. If you haven’t listened to those you lead, you won’t know what is important to them and won’t be able to connect them to your vision.
By weaving your story and another person’s story with the biblical story, you’re inviting that person into something that’s much bigger than your personal vision. You’re not just asking them to trust you; you’re asking them to trust God. The focus is on what God’s doing in your midst.
Once you communicate this new story, invite people to live into it. As they do, they will take the new language that you’ve given them and will use it to organize their lives. They will begin to see the language and new ideas in places they had not expected to see them before. Over time, people will take this new story and make it their own.
Part 4, Question 2: Where do I find stories to introduce something new?
To introduce something new, the best place to start is with what’s not new - with people’s longings and aspirations. For example, most parents want their kids to have the same commitment to Jesus that they have. To create shared stories of future hope, start with listening for these longings. Also listen for stories that are already taking place in your congregation that are examples of Sticky Faith.
Part 4, Question 3: What should I do once I find a good story?
Once you find a good story, tell it every opportunity you have. This can be at a church meeting, in a conversation with a parent, or when someone asks you what’s going on at the church. Create multiple lengths of the story so you can tell it in a variety of settings. Tell it enough that every person in the church can tell it. This story will give people a glimpse of what is possible. It is something that you’re inviting them to live into on their own terms. When they do this, they participate in a shared story of future hope.
The time has now come for you to begin to communicate the Sticky Faith vision! As explained above, a vision is a shared story of future hope. In this exercise, you’re going to come up with a story of Sticky Faith that best communicates your vision.
First, pick one true story from your congregation that you think best illustrates Sticky Faith, and write it down. (If you have a hard time coming up with a story, you might want to revisit the listening exercises in Part 1 and Part 2 of this toolkit).
Next, write out every opportunity you’ll have over the next week to share this story. This might include a staff meeting, dinner with your family, a time where you’ll be speaking, running into your lead pastor in the hallway, etc. Finally, think through what version of the story you would share in each of these settings. You want to be prepared with a length that will fit any situation.
Once you’ve written down the story (at least the first version), share it with your youth ministry leadership team. Have each of the leaders go through this exercise as well, using the story you came up with (or another story that everyone agrees on). Then, take a week or two and share the story as much as possible. After that time, come back together and talk about how it went. Continue to share this story until everyone in your church knows it, as it is the key to communicating the Sticky Faith vision to others.
Reflection questions for you and your team:
- How did people react when you shared the story with them?
- For those who were excited about it, how could we invite them to participate in this new vision?
- Have we communicated this story to as many people in the congregation as possible? If not, what can we do to make this happen?
- How well can we articulate the changes this story represents that we’re hoping to see in our ministry?
- What are some small (or large) changes we can begin to make that would move us toward this Sticky Faith vision?
Resources to Go Deeper:
- Building Your Company’s Vision - A Harvard Business Review article by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras that explains the importance of a vision, as well as how to build one.
- Two Sticky Seniors – A video by Lars Rood that tells the Sticky Faith stories of two students.
Explore part 5 of this toolkit: Why are people afraid of change?