Narratives and New Churches

Episode 669: Narratives are micro-paradigms that cause someone to see an issue a certain way, process through it and then come up with how they are going to respond. Host Ed Stetzer discusses with Michael Crawford and Clint Clifton the importance of a church planter understanding how his own narrative intersects with narratives in the community he is trying to reach.

In This Episode, You’ll Discover:

  • Why it’s so important for church leaders to understand narratives
  • How a church planter can understand and explain his own narrative
  • What it looks like for a planter to learn a community’s narratives
  • What to do when a planter has misread a community’s narratives
  • How to avoid getting stuck in the rut of our own narrative and instead engage people

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Sharable Quotes (#NewChurches):

Narratives are the dominant way by which people perceive, process and do life today. We have multiple narratives flowing through our country in regard to politics, race, the economy, etc. And you’re going to behave depending on which narrative you subscribe to.Michael Crawford

As new churches interact with people, they’re really interacting with their micro-narratives. And so the issue then becomes, “Am I equipped to take the gospel and to help people understand these micro-narratives through the lens of the Bible, through the lens of who God is and what he’s done in the world?”Michael Crawford

Church planters are taught to describe their own narrative in pitching themselves and their new churches, but I don’t think many conversations are happening about the narratives going on in their community around them and how that affects the day-to-day ministry. @ClintJClifton

What most church planters do is borrow someone else’s narrative. They’re crafting how their church is going to respond to what’s going on in their community and say, “Oh, that church over in that city, I really like how they do it.” That’s the absolute wrong way to go about it.  @ClintJClifton

I want to be an expert in the narrative of the community, while simultaneously acknowledging that each person still has their own journey and story. @EdStetzer

The demonstrative effect of misreading is going to be relational dysfunction. That’s when you need to be able to say, “OK, well maybe I’ve read this wrong.” Then you go back to whoever you’re talking to and begin to asking them the questions all over again.Michael Crawford

It’s a key missiological trait to be able to understand a narrative and graciously and humbly bring people to God’s meta-narrative, and show them how it fits in.Michael Crawford


Published May 19, 2022

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