Every family has one.
You know what I’m talking about: that one relative who is the Keeper Of The Stories. He or she bellies up to the dinner table at every birthday party, Christmas, Thanksgiving, you name it, and tells the same six to ten tales every. single. time.
On my wife’s side of the family, we have two K.O.T.S.: Uncle Jack and Uncle Bubba (She’s from Alabama. Shut up.). I don’t have time to go into great detail on my favorite Uncle Bubba story, but suffice it to say it starts with him getting an odd job running a Roto Rooter and ends with the lady in the apartment next door running down the hall screaming THERE’S A SNAKE LOOSE IN MY LIVING ROOM!
I dare say that regardless of how many times we hear the classic family stories, there’s a part of us that yearns for them. We love to hear our history. We love to reminisce over the humorous, the adventurous, and sometimes even the monotonous.
Our stories ground us. They point us to a tapestry that’s bigger than ourselves, and they help us find our place in the timeline.
That’s why as a leader, you need a story repository. You need 10 or 15 great stories of volunteer heroics, ministry wins, and life change. When you’re onboarding a new volunteer, tell stories. When you’re interviewing a new hire, tell stories. When you’re casting vision or clarifying mission or correcting actions, tell stories.
Hoard your stories. Collect them like crazy. Write them down if you have to and refer back to the list often. Your team members and your potential team members will thank you for giving them the context for their place in the bigger story of ministry.