What’s Your Christian Story?

~By Julie Chatfield, Children’s Ministry Directory

What is your Christian Story?  I have always dreaded this question because my story would pale in comparison to those who had earth shattering, lightning bolt experiences.  I was born and raised United Methodist.   In fact, the entire family including both sets of grandparents attended the same United Methodist Church.  The family at large went every Sunday and we would sit in the 4th pew, taking up the entire row.  My spot was between my mom and her mom, my grandma Bartter.  During the hymns I could hear grandpa Bs bass voice and grandma B singing along in harmony.  If I got restless, grandma would pass over a Tic Tac or a Brock’s butterscotch.  My dad’s parents where strong leaders in the life of the church.  My Grandpa O, short for Oberholtzer, was on the Board of Trustees and my grandma O, who came from a family of wealth, donated the church library.  I was proud to be a part of such an involved family.  All the adults were a part of smaller groups that consisted of people who remained their close friends throughout their lives.  I knew these people, what kept them busy, when they were in the hospital and even heard when they died.  To this day one couple, who was a part of my parents small group, attends Peace United Methodist church when they are visiting Florida.  It’s always great to see them sitting in our Sanctuary.  After worship, we all went to our respective Sunday School classes.  My parents often took turns teaching my classroom.  While I don’t necessarily have precise memories, I cherish these moments which had a greater impact on me than I realized. 

Recently I was asked on the spot to lead a small group discussion.  Not having anything prepared, I pulled this idea out of my bag of queries.   I began, “What is your Christian Story?”  As the group thoughtfully shared their journeys I noted the  similarities.  Relationships, routines, nature, deep cognizance.   A dark period, sin, falling away, a time of questioning.  These characteristics were not discriminate.  They were not selective to those born into a Christian family, not definitive of age or intelligence.  These commonalities didn’t care the origin, or the social class and certainly were not judgmental of behavior or lack thereof.  Ultimately, it was perceived God was always present.  God uses dark periods, sin, falling away and times of questioning.  God uses relationships, nature, routines, and those moments of deep cognizance.  God is at work in everyone all of the time.  Because God is God, and that’s the truth.  God is always at work in you! What is your Christian Story?