In the first part of the work, a core group from the congregation considers whether they into live within their mid to late twenties. Using the Discernment Guide the group listens to young adults and wonders whether they are called to respond to what they hear. If clarity comes around continuing in this process, the core group takes a long, loving look at the story of their congregation to see their capacities afresh, and begins to narrate a possible next chapter includes the 787 Collective.
NARRATING YOUR STORY
At the heart of this work is the recognition of a need for something new. Yet how and where do we look for this new thing in the throes of an already full life? How do we draw our attention away from the river to search for a wellspring?
As Christians, we look to Scripture and tradition to answer this question. What we find are stories. Stories that, when told together, begin to reveal the ultimate rich and sacred story. The wellspring of our story, which began with the ancient Hebrew chronicles and continued through and after the life of Jesus Christ, is the hope of healing and reconciliation for all. Yet how often are we tempted to stay cloistered with our hope and celebration of redemption? It is as if we do not know how to put the Good News into words that will pierce the hearts of our neighbors, especially young adults.
Remember the story of Peter on Pentecost? That day he faced the end of his tradition as he has always known it. Something new was upon them. He did not know the words either. Peter re-narrated the story of the Hebrew people by telling the story of the present through the lens of the past (with the help of the Holy Spirit). Those who heard him couldn’t help but ask what this story demanded of their futures. Living a new chapter, they found abundant life in community, absorption in teaching and learning, breaking bread and prayers, healing and reconciliation. This story of something new happening at the end of words is part of our tradition.
We not only share a common and holy story, we also share the gift of story through the teachings of Christ. Whether the richness of a parable, or the narrative of Jesus’ grief at the death of a friend: At every turn in the New Testament we see the narrative form employed to connect, inspire, and instruct. How might we also use narrative as a basis to understand better both our congregations and our call to minister to young adults? Might a deeper consideration of our story help to instruct and inspire us toward the way God is opening?
It takes many voices to tell a true story. Look at our own scripture: four different gospels, right? The 787 Collective gathers stories together so that we might be known and changed by the light of Christ revealed in each. As we better understand our congregational stories, we see where we’ve succeeded and where we’ve run amiss of God’s desire for us to come alongside people outside of our church walls. We are not in this alone. We will commit together to create the next chapter in the life of our Austin community, and hopefully in the lives of each of our congregations. Our eyes are fixed on the call to journey with young adults where they are, and in so doing, both re-discovering and sharing the truth, love and beauty that are the story of Christ in this world.
We invite you to a process of narrating the story of your congregation. The process requires reflection and thought as you consider how your past prepares you for the future, for doing something new, and for being part of a learning community.
The work you do here functions as the first part of your application to the 787 Collective.