We’re excited to be joining you on your Story Journey! To help you get started, we wanted to provide you with some important information. So please read through this carefully and remember, your assigned Coordinator is your lifeline! They will be walking with you every step of the way. You’re encouraged to reach out to them if you have any concerns, questions, or need further guidance.
First Things First The thought of sitting down and writing your story can feel like an overwhelming task, especially if you’ve never done anything like this. So, the Worksheet method we’ve developed will help alleviate that pressure and your assigned Coordinator will take care of the hard part. Our Story Development method is very unique and specifically designed to help you walk through this process. There is an old saying that asks, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, “One bite at a time!” That’s how we will approach this task. The story you share is going to be very focused on your topic. We don’t write stories and then try to fit your topic in to them; it’s quite the opposite! To accomplish that, you’ll only be writing about very specific “life-events” which are relative to your topic.
Life Events So, what’s a “life event”? Great question! For our purposes, a life event is defined as something that happened in a matter of minutes, or maybe hours; however, an event does not cover days, years, or any long period of time. In short, an event is a “snapshot” of an important moment or short period of time in your life. So, we should not receive a Worksheet from you entitled “My High School Years”! We shared a great example of this (“My Wedding Day”) in the PowerPoint presentation you watched during your meeting. You can write about your wedding day (the ceremony), but you wouldn’t be sharing how you met your spouse in the same Worksheet. You wouldn’t write about the Rehearsal Dinner or your bachelor/bachelorette party the night before either. And yes, even your honeymoon would be separate Worksheet! So, when writing about these life-events, the Worksheets are designed to help you stay in those moments and paint a picture which will draw the audience into your story. They may not have experienced your exact circumstances, but many will relate on an emotional level to something in their own life, and that’s what we’re after.
Getting Started As we stated in the PowerPoint presentation, your first task is to complete a Worksheet entitled, “My Salvation.” So, we want you to dive right in; it’s simply the best way to get a feel for the process. Your assigned Coordinator will receive your Worksheet via email when you hit the submit button. They’ll review it and provide you with some correctional feedback and instruction (if necessary) to keep you on track as you prepare to write more. While waiting for their response, please complete the other two forms (General Info and Story Specific Questions). When you hear back from your Coordinator, they are going to help you to start a list of life events (relevant to your assigned topic) which will become the titles for the additional Worksheets you’ll write. This list will be dynamic. In other words, it may change as you move forward in the process; the Lord may remind you of other life events and/or your Coordinator may ask you to write about a specific event after reading some of your Worksheet submissions. So, keep your list handy. And remember, even this list should be a matter of prayer! Ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to write about…you may be surprised by the “forgotten” memories that come to mind…please don’t “shrug it off” or try to avoid it, especially if it’s painful! Healing is on the way!! Once you have a list started, pick an Event and Start Writing… You may want to start with an easy one just to get in the flow of writing in this fashion. Part of the beauty of this method is that you don’t have to write in chronological order. In fact, we encourage you not to. This will help you to avoid the temptation of writing out your whole story. Simply continue writing as time permits, one event at a time, until you’ve exhausted your list.
Communicate Please respond immediately to any questions and/or direction you receive from your assigned Coordinator as they compile your Worksheets throughout this process. Keep in mind, you may spend 8 to 10 hours writing your Worksheets; they will spend 20 to 30 hours editing, if not more. More importantly, if you’re married, talk to your spouse too, keeping them informed of your journey. There could be a lot of really great conversations waiting on you!
Finalizing Your Story As you work with your assigned Coordinator in developing your story, it is important to keep in mind it’s the Coordinator’s responsibility to ensure your story remains focused on your topic. In the end, they will assure that your story fits in our 25-30-minute window, so our goal is to make it as effective and efficient as possible. In other words, we should be able to remove the title from your story (A Man and His Mentors; a Woman and Her Integrity), and the topic or focus should still be very clear to participants. With that in mind, there will be things you write about, which are important to you, and had an impact on your life, that may not make it into the final story…and that’s ok! As you submit your Worksheets, your Coordinator will be placing them into chronological order. They will also be editing each of them to ensure the information is readable and flows smoothly. In that sense, your assigned Coordinator will become your “ghost writer” and may feel the need to add some detail or change up some of your wording to bring clarity. Our job is to ensure the story you share is clear and understandable to the listening audience (the participants). However, we will also ensure that you are ok with any changes we make before we move forward in finalizing your story. That includes being comfortable with the words and/or phrases we may add. When the time is appropriate, your Coordinator will arrange to meet with you to work through the “Final Edit.” Once this final edit is complete, if married, your Story will be ready for you to share with your spouse. We highly recommend that you don’t just hand it to them but take the time and create the space to sit down and read it to them. You may be surprised by the results!! It’s important to note that if your spouse has any issues with your story, you need to let us know immediately! And finally, you will share your Story, at the appropriate meeting, with the Team. Afterward, your Coordinator will let you know if there are any needed final adjustments. Once those are complete, you’ll be ready to deliver it on the Weekend.
Healing Prayer We are keenly aware that this process is not always easy and often exposes old wounds and brings some deep revelation as well. For that reason, you’ll also be provided with a time for some “healing prayer” as well, as arranged by your Coordinator. The purpose of this prayer session is to provide an opportunity for complete closure wherever/however needed. To use a biblical example, we are the friends who are willing to climb onto the roof, tear a hole in it, and lower you on a mat into the Presence of Jesus! Simply put, these sessions are incredible and often life changing.
A Few Final Words We encourage you NOT to “practice” your story or attempt to memorize it. This kind of familiarity can really minimize the impact it’s intended to have on you and the audience. We don’t want the stories to come across as if you’re reading out of a book; it’s important that they remain fresh, even “raw” and very real. Memorizing the words or over-practicing your delivery can make your story seem too “polished” and the participants will recognize that immediately. As you work through the writing process, don’t get caught up in trying to see the “big picture” or how all these “puzzle pieces” fit together. This will become a huge distraction, because you’ll feel the need to “fill in all the blanks”, creating confusion and a lot of unnecessary “detours”! Again, trust the process; seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance; and lean on your Coordinator’s experience. And in the end, you will be amazed! Where there is pain, there is a need for healing…so when/if painful memories come to light, be willing to go there and sit in them for as long as it takes. Trust that Papa will be there with you, and His only desire is to bring you healing and freedom! Your pain is HOLY Ground, so treat it as such! This process is not intended to be easy, but if you are willing to pay the price, the results will be life changing for you and many others! So, you should expect deep revelation and healing! We look forward to seeing you on the other side!!