Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Power of Story

Have you ever wondering where stories come from and why they are so powerful?

The origin of story is found in something we lovingly refer to as oral tradition. From the dawn of time, human beings gathered together to share in story - story of life's origin, story of purpose, story of definition and story of hope. Every human culture that has ever existed has elevated story to be the capstone of their existence. We are immersed in story.

Story is in the sinew that binds the human narrative together.

One of my favourite things to do as a parent is to tell stories to my children. Sometimes these stories are about my own childhood memories; sometimes the stories I tell are focused on producing some sort of desired response; and at other times stories are simply about celebrating something.

Stories are powerful because they matter to us. Here are three ways the power of story is revealed.

Story inspires. Have you ever heard someone say, "I've gotta great story to tell?" They proceed to dive into a great tale of some triumph or failure, evoking emotion, engagement and wonder as a result. Great stories are ones that inspire us in some way. Inspiration is a fickle thing. At times it demands an active response, and at others it invokes a pensive state. In all its forms, great story-telling catapults the listener into an emotively saturated climate called inspiration.

Story celebrates. The best stories told through image or words are those that seek to elevate a cause, an individual or a dilemma that is worth celebrating. While Hollywood has done society a great disservice is many regards, what Hollywood does do well is celebrate great stories. Historical turning points, social awareness issues and personal triumphs have been captivated in print or on-screen in ways that have allowed millions of people to be influenced in some way. Awards shows like the Grammys & Emmys provide a platform through which the telling of story is honoured, and the stories themselves may gain the recognition and joy they deserve.

Story breathes. Stories are alive. Don't believe me? Try telling someone a story and see what happens. Stories evoke question, wonder & hope at the drop of a hat. What we say, how we say it, and how we choose to live in response to what we've experienced are signs of that is wrought into existence by the power of story.

One of my goals as a leader is to learn to harness the power of story in my own life - knowing that what I say and what I do are stitching together a narrative that influences the world around me. More importantly, knowing that my life as story exists within the context of a greater unfolding story known as human existence, which has been authored by a creator God in a loving and determined fashion.

It's this story that all of human kind finds itself immersed in. Which leaves me to ponder how we are engaging the power of story in all its forms to inspire, celebrate & breathe in present reality and the not so distant future? What do you think?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Video Interview with my friend Phil

Phil is a youth ministry worker who is passionate about Canada, intergenerational ministry, youth and the Toronto Maple Leafs! Listen to a conversation between Phil and I as we chat about Canadian youth ministry trends, what we love about Canada and what we hope every Canadian Youth Worker would know about their ministry.

Monday, May 12, 2014


It's grad season. Students are preparing for life post-university, post high school, post jr. high or post elementary. Each transition brings with it a series of new opportunities, questions, hopes and dreams. In these seasons where we may ask 'what now' how do we respond? This is a video some friends of mine helped produce in an attempt to generate spark life in the midst of transitions. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Youth Ministry chat with my friend Grover Bradford

Grover Bradford is a Canadian Youth Ministry legend. He possesses over 20 years of ministry experience with missional agencies and the local church. Listen to our conversation about the current and future state of youth ministry in Canada and join the conversation!