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‘Tell the old, old story’

Church must proclaim God’s love, not dwell on decline, preacher tells Stewardship Kaleidoscope conference

March 15, 2013

ST. LOUIS

In the church, we live with stories: the Old Testament is a tribute to oral storytelling, and faith stories shared by fellow members influence our own ministry. Each congregation has its own stories of struggles and successes, said the Rev. Rick Young, president and CEO of Texas Presbyterian Foundation.

Young preached March 12 at the Stewardship Kaleidoscope conference here.

“We learn from stories where we can laugh. We learn from stories where we can cry,” Young said.

But in the church today, we’ve lost the ability — or maybe the desire — to tell the “old, old story” of Jesus’ love, as stated in the hymn “I Love to Tell the Story.”

Instead, we’ve rewritten the story to be one of reflection on the good ol’ days or anxiety about current woes. We talk about what is wrong so often that we forget to tell what is right, Young said.

“If we don’t begin to tell the story, it doesn’t matter what we talk about in stewardship,” he said.

When we’re so negative about the state of the church, what do we expect people to invest in? Why would people sign up to be part of an organization always bemoaning its decline? Young asked.

“It’s hard to walk forward if all you do is look over your shoulder,” he said. “You run into a lot of walls that way. We’ve run into a lot of walls as a church.”

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