Fishing for Stories

In high school, I had a friend who had a manmade fishpond in the field behind his house. His family dug a hole the size of a football field, filled it with water and put a few fish in there. By the time they added a boat and a dock, the fish had multiplied and they could walk out their back door for a fishing excursion.

I don’t think anybody would argue that those fish belonged to my friend’s family. Yet, my friend still had to go to the trouble of taking his pole down to the water and casting and reeling until he hooked a big one.

Stories are like that. You have many stories – they are all yours! – but they are often hiding beneath the surface. You need to take the time and energy to go fishing for them.

So let’s go fishing!

Your Storyline

Sometimes telling the right story starts with asking the right questions. Consider these questions and see what stories surface:

  • What’s one thing you’ll always remember about your mission trip?
  • Who is one person you won’t forget?
  • Why is that person or memory meaningful to you?
  • How did that person or thing affect you?

Setting the Hook

Most people who ask, “How was your mission trip?” are going to give you about 30 seconds of their attention. Prepare to fill those 30 seconds with something meaningful. It might be easy to say, “It was great. We painted a house,” but it will be much more meaningful to say something like, “We painted the house belonging to Ms. Johnson who reminded me how important it is to give others my full attention.” When you think through your answer, it might hook their attention for a longer conversation.

Reel Meaningful Stories

Reeling in a big fish takes practice. If you take too long, the fish has more opportunity to break away, and if you try to reel too fast, the line might snap. In the same way, knowing how long your storyline should be is important.

Like I said earlier, you might only have 30 seconds to share something meaningful. Or maybe you’ll find someone who wants the 3-minute version. Using the above questions under “Your Storyline,” practice your story for both of those situations.

No really! Actually practice telling those stories! Right now.

And I know… your story is bigger than 30 seconds or 3 minutes! So find one or two people who want to hear the 30-minute (or more) telling of what you did on your mission trip. In fact, right now, write down the names of a couple people who you’d like to share the longer story with.

Keep Fishing

The stories of what Jesus is doing in your life matter. Whether it’s in the halls of your school or at your kitchen table or on your Facebook page, keep telling those stories! When your stories are about what Jesus is doing in and through you, they are powerful! And they are worth fishing for.