Three Chairs Framework for Sharing Your Story
I talk a lot about telling your story, primarily because I believe it to be such a huge part of disciple making. The reason isn’t only pragmatic–because we live in a world that speaks primarily through stories. It’s also an example the Bible gives us for making disciples.
The blind man in John 9 lays out the greatest case for learning to share your story in a simple way.
On a Sabbath, Jesus restores the sight of the man born blind. When the religious leaders find out, they begin an investigation. Ultimately they tell the man, “You need to give glory to God. This man, Jesus, is a sinner.” The blind man doesn’t take the bait of dealing theologically with the identity of Jesus. He simply responds with what he knows to be true: his story.
“I don’t know if this Jesus is a sinner or not,” he says in v. 25. “All I know is, I once was blind, but now I can see.”
When we think about winning someone to Jesus, we usually think about it in two arenas:
- Debate them to Christ (Jesus is a sinner)
- This is my story (I once was blind, but now I see)
We often think we need to apologetically debate and win them to Christ. It’s true that people do need their questions answered, and maybe the debate path has worked for some. I haven’t had much success with that path.
The other path we choose is simply one of telling our story. Our story is our way of opening the door to someone to see if they are interested in Jesus.
I don’t want to debate you to Christ, I want you to hear what He has done for me and what He can do for you. I want you to experience Jesus for yourself.
The problem for many followers of Jesus today is that we get stuck in debate mode (just browse Facebook) and not in story mode like the man born blind. The truth is this:
Your story of transformation is the most powerful apologetic you need to begin to disciple people.
I want to use the man born blind’s story as a framework for telling our story. We call this tool “The Three Chairs.”
Chair 1 – There was a time in my life when…
I was once burdened and weighed down by the shame of legalism. Not feeling good enough to be in God’s good graces. I was missing out on all that He had for me because I believed I had to be perfect before I could experience Him.
Chair 2 – Then I met Jesus…
Then two men reintroduced me to Jesus in my mid-20’s and the weight of shame began to lighten. I experienced Jesus for the very first time as I truly began to turn things over to Him in complete surrender.
Chair 3 – Now my life is like…
Today I walk in freedom. Not weighed down by men’s opinions of me or traditions of man. I walk with God knowing that He has a plan and will for my life to make disciple makers. I walk with joy and purpose.
Do you have a story like that?
Asking if the other person has a story like that opens the door to whether he or she might want to take the next step with you.
You can take the three chairs and overlay it with the formerly blind man’s story and see how it aligns nearly perfect. This is an incredibly powerful tool for when it comes to sharing your story. If you have not experienced yet the transformative power of Jesus, your next step is to walk in obedience and surrender as the Holy Spirit begins the work of transforming you from the inside out.
Now, take action…
Take some time right now to write out your story with this framework. Practice it multiple times. Share it with a spouse or child. Share your story with a trusted friend. Get used to sharing it. Get comfortable with it.
Then get it down to 2 minutes. Most people who start this process want to share over the course of 15 or 30 minutes. The reality is that when you are in the “harvest,” you may only have two minutes while waiting in line for your coffee. You need a quick version to share with someone. This takes practice.
Keep the best parts of your story that show Jesus’ true transformative power. If you were freed from a drug addiction or abusive tendencies, don’t focus your story on that time you disobeyed your mom. It might be a great part of your story, but might be better used when you have that 30 minutes to really dive into details. You might only have a small window of time, maybe one opportunity. Get to the most powerful part of Jesus’ work in your life as quickly as you can.
Now may God be with you as you share your story in the harvest.
Let’s take Kingdom territory!
(For more from Stan, check out www.fourgen.org.)