Luke’s parables offer themes of stewardship
There are great stories from the Gospel of Luke that are a part of the present lectionary series. For examples look ahead to the texts in September.
- September 5: Luke 14:25-33 – Two parables illustrate the importance of “counting the cost”.
- September 12: Luke 15:1-10 – Woman searching for her lost coin.
- September 19: Luke 16:1-13 – The dishonest manager.
- September 25: Luke 16:19-31 – The rich man and Lazarus.
In the following article, Ed Kruse (Director of stewardship for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) gives a six-step process that you can use to tell a narrative story.
How to Tell a Story Narratively
People love a good story. The best story to tell is God’s Story because it makes Christ known. Some of our most enjoyable stories are those of how God blesses people through our giving.
A narrative approach invites everyone to connect the story to what God might invite us to change in our lives. This is fun, easy to do and can be used with any Bible or other story. The process can also be used in any size group. Follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Name the story.
Step 2: Invite listeners to think about the characters.
- Recipients who receive the gift
- Donors who give the gift
- Agent through whom the gift is given
Repeat the three categories. Begin telling the story.
Step 3: Ask “What does this story tell us?” (Two to three responses are enough.)
Step 4: (10 to 15 minutes) Invite the audience to discuss how the story might be significant for each character.
- Start with the recipient (e.g., the sick person, poor and needy, the multitude who ate, or the prodigal son).
- Go to the donor (God, people putting money in the offering plate, the boy with the loaves and fish, the prodigal son’s father).
- Finish with the agent (the congregation, storyteller, your denomination, the disciples, the servants of the prodigal son’s father).
Step 5: Ask questions of each character: (15 to 20 minutes)
- How might the recipient/donor/agent have changed as a result of this experience?
- Take three to five minutes to reflect on each character before going on to the next one.Note: Take two-thirds of your time with Steps 4 and 5.
Follow-up discussion (as time allows):
- Where was God involved in the story?
- Think about an example in which God worked in someone’s life through giving in your congregation?
- Recall a gift that you gave (time, work or other). How did God make a difference in the recipient(s)? How did God impact you?
- Think about the money your congregation gives in mission support. How does knowing that God changes people’s lives through your offering make you feel?
- What change might you make in your life as a result of experiencing the story in this way?
Step 6: Thank the participants.
Invite them to turn to the person on each side of them and say, “Thank you for your generous giving.”
This article is from Luther Seminary’s “Stewardship in the 21st Century” newsletter.