Telling stories may get you unstuck

Is your church stuck? Would you like to see some movement, change, and growth? You’re not alone. The Alban Institute article, “Getting to the Heart of the Matter,” written by Susan Beaumont, emphasizes the role of telling, and hearing, stories as a methodology for getting beyond “stuck-ness.”

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

by Susan Beaumont in the Alban Institute online

As a consultant to congregations, I am often called to work with churches that are stuck. Leaders are aware that something is holding the congregation back from achieving its full potential, but they cannot get a clear enough perspective to figure out what the problems might be. In most situations I find that the story the congregation is telling about being stuck contains the clues for getting unstuck. Once I hear congregational mem bers tell a story about their situation, I can begin to help them understand how their own narrative scenarios keep them from moving ahead. Within the stories I have collected over the years I have noted three problematic story types that often sit at the heart of stuck congregations:

1. The story that illustrates where things went wrong in the past and how the congregation will never recover from that event

2. The story that illustrates a triumphant moment in the past, but memorializes that event in such a way that it limits the congregation’s future

3. The story about being stuck in the present, casting the teller in a noble role and finding someone else to blame for the congregation’s problems

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