Missionaries working in countries where there is no printed gospel available in the heart language of the people use a method called storying to present the gospel message. Story sets help create bridges (beliefs and views we share) and address barriers (beliefs that make it difficult for someone to believe) to the gospel.
One specific presentation has been crafted that presents the whole gospel from the story of creation all the way to Christ. It is aptly called “Creation to Christ.”
What is Creation to Christ?
Starting in Genesis with the creation of the world and the fall of man, the story continues through God’s promises given to Abraham and into Exodus to include Passover and the Ten Commandments. It also includes prophecies about the coming Messiah. Then, the Annunciation and birth of Jesus are told to show the fulfillment of these prophecies about Jesus’s birth.
Stories of Jesus’s miracles show he had the authority to forgive sin as well as power over nature, power over demons, and power over death. Creation to Christ typically includes events leading up to the crucifixion and the crucifixion story. Then, it recounts the resurrection and all the witnesses that give proof to the resurrection. At the end, the Ascension places Jesus at the right hand of God.
Creation to Christ aims to explain how the gospel answers the deepest questions and longings of every worldview—issues of fear and power, shame and honor, or guilt and innocence. Depending on what stories and details in the grand Bible narrative you focus on, Creation to Christ can be told in 15 minutes, 40 minutes, or any time frame in between.
It is the gospel. I can tell you, the first time I heard this presented by one of my instructors, I was amazed. I remember thinking, “I will never be able to do that.”
Creation to Christ in Real Life
My husband and I befriend international students at the University of Houston. Our commitment is to meet with them once a month—often in our home over dinner. The first night we had Bai* over, he saw the Bibles on our coffee table and wanted to know an abbreviated version of what the Bible is about. I could only pray, “please help me Holy Spirit,” and I jumped right into a Creation to Christ presentation.
I had never done this before and I certainly had no advance notice to practice. I remembered all the key points and it went well. Over dinner, he asked about the differences between the different Christian groups. I told him it would be easier if I told him what we had in common and launched into Creation to Christ again. I was able to present the gospel to Bai twice that night because he asked!!!
Fast forward a couple of years and we have a new Chinese student—Chen.* We had driven out to the country to have dinner with friends so Chen could see the countryside. A rainstorm had moved in while we were eating, so I was driving her back to her dorm in the rain. As we drove by a couple of different churches on I-10, Chen asked what was the difference between all the Christian churches. That was my cue.
Leonard, my husband, knew what was going to come next and immediately started praying. I knew I had about 15 minutes before we arrived at her dorm. Thank God the rain slowed traffic, so I could take my time. Again I said it would be easier for me to share what we had in common and launched into Creation to Christ.
When I finished, there was silence. I was driving and could not make eye contact. I waited a few minutes and said, “Well?”
Chen responded, “I am silent because I am shocked.” I asked if it was a good shock or a bad shock. Chen said, “I am shocked because I have never heard anything like this before in my life. Chinese people do not know these things.”
In the few minutes left, we discussed how one could know there really was a God. She was studying microbiology and was able to prove it to herself when she talked about the miracle of a cell in the human body.
I love sharing the gospel through stories. You can find examples of stories on our UBA YouTube channel. There's even a storying app. You can also mark your calendar for October 3rd when we will offer a conference on how to story at the UBA office. For more information, email me: Sally@ubahouston.org
Sally Hinzie is a Church Consultant who has worked at UBA for many years. Her primary areas of ministry focus include church planting, bible storying training, organic church, and ministry implementation.
* Students' names have been changed