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The Power of Story

The Power of StoryThe Power of Story Bethany Turner SeeBethanyWrite

Before my first Christian Romance was released, I reached out to several churches that seemed to be like-minded with the message I hoped to convey with my story. I offered to send a free copy to each church’s library, if they had one. I offered to send a free copy to their women’s ministry leader. I offered to send enough copies for a small group to read and discuss. I volunteered to travel to speak at the churches, at no cost to the church. Why? Because that’s what I believed God was telling me to do.

Not a single church took me up on a single offer.

And that’s okay. I work full-time on the staff of a church, and I understand the realities of ministry. But one church leader replied by saying the following, among other things:

“Unfortunately, our church works with people in groups and one-on-one on different non-fiction spiritual growth topics.”

I had to work to even understand what they were telling me. Unfortunately? Unfortunate for whom? Me? If it’s unfortunate for me, because it means you aren’t interested in my book, fine. If it’s unfortunate for the church, do something about it! Groups and one-on-one? Great. Those are pretty much the options. Glad they realize that! 

OH! Now I see what they’re saying. Non-fiction spiritual growth topics. Non-fiction. Not the FICTIONAL spiritual growth topics that my book addresses. You know…sin, redemption, temptation, mercy. All those made up things. 

Let’s face it: what that church was really saying is “Fiction is not a valid method of evangelism or discipleship.”

NONSENSE.

You guys, I just had a conversation with a lovely lady at church who told me that less than two years ago she had drifted far from God, far from her family, far from her purpose. And do you want to know what brought her back?

CHRISTIAN ROMANCE.

Not MY Christian Romance, lest you think I’m tooting my own horn. Nope. She hasn’t read anything I’ve ever written. This isn’t about me. It’s about FICTION, and the power that it holds.

Jesus understood the power of story. Let’s not allow that to be lost. I’ll tell you, this fires me up. This isn’t about selling books, this is about starting a revolution! This is about using every single tool in our toolbox to introduce as many people as possible to the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. 

We don’t have time to waste on turning our noses up at non-traditional approaches that don’t fit within our preferences. If it’s leading people to Jesus, SUPPORT IT. Encourage it. Shrug your shoulders because you don’t understand it, pray that it works whether you understand it or not, and then get back to leading people to Jesus the way YOU know how. 

Jesus understood the power of story. Jesus STARTED A REVOLUTION using, in part, the power of story. I believe He can do it again.

10 Comments on The Power of Story

  1. Hi Bethany. I wonder if a key phrase in this piece might be, “before my first [book of any kind] was released…” What I mean by that is, if Francine Rivers contacted churches, offering free books and speaking engagements–no charge–I’m pretty sure she’d get a few nibbles. I’m not discounting anything you’ve said, because I know that perception is out there. However, I do think there’s a bit more to the story. In time, when you’re well known, this could look a lot different. Just sayin’.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Terrie! Truthfully, that was just a factual statement and not meant to be commentary. It was before my first Christian Romance was released. As opposed to general market fiction I had self-published years ago. I was simply setting up the time frame. I have no doubt you’re right…Francine and I would receive very different responses! But I also had enough conversations with various churches (and do on a regular basis in my role on church staff) to know there is more at play than being well known. Thanks again for commenting!

  2. I thoroughly enjoy everything you write – your passion comes pouring through! I’m a HUGE fan of fiction and totally agree that it can do powerful things in the lives of readers.

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