Everyone has a story. Past, Present, Future.
Beginning, Middle, End.
We all come from somewhere and we’re all are going somewhere. We’re all dealing with life somewhere in the middle right now. The art of learning someone’s story, and sharing your story are essential to building rich friendships as we live on mission. The following tool is one simple way to go about learning these skills. It provides a series of questions in the framework of Past, Present, Future.
Don’t think about any of this as a rigid one-size fits all formula, so much as guardrails to help you get started and troubleshoot as you go.
This is not intended to be a one-time, one-shot conversation.
Learning their story and sharing your story could take weeks, months or an entire season. This tool is intended to be used over time as you get to know someone in the context of a real, mutual, loving relationship.
Start by listing some friends and neighbors who don’t know Jesus. Keep them in mind as you work through the rest of the tool.
PART 1: THE PAST
We all come from somewhere. Somewhere that includes a physical place (or places), a family of origin and a series of personal experiences. Everyone’s past provides the context for their entire story. So getting to know someone requires getting to know their backstory. And inviting someone into your life requires sharing yours.
PART 2: THE PRESENT
Regardless of our backstories, we all find ourselves right here and now… dealing with life. Some of us are doing that pretty well, others are really struggling. But how they are dealing with life, and how we deal with life give us a lot of opportunities to share the truth and hope of Jesus.
PART 3: THE FUTURE
In the midst of dealing with our lives, all of us have certain beliefs about what is broken in this world and what would fix it. We all have dreams and hopes about what “the good life” would look like if we ever got there. Tapping into these hopes and dreams helps us get to know people and see places where they have false hopes outside of Jesus.
PART 4: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
As we get to know their story and share our story, we are always looking for ways we can share Jesus’ story through our story and apply it into their story