Stories inspire more stories.

One of the things we do each week with our launch team is create space for someone to share their story.
As a pastor I can say that some of my favorite moments with our team have come during this time.

These stories have been raw and honest.
Joyful and devastating.
People growing up in great homes and no homes at all.
We’ve cried tears of sadness and we’ve laughed our heads off.

People have shared their life stories, stories that have been filled with heartache.
Filled with betrayal.
And divorce.
the suicide of a best friend.
drug abuse.
abusive parents.
broken engagements.
sexual and physical abuse.
murdered siblings.

But each week these messy stories allow us to see glimpses of God breaking into people’s messed up lives – to our lives.
I hate hearing these stories…and at the same time I love it.
The stories are heart-wrenching, but the hope is evident.

People also speak of their lives being filled with joy.
And grace.

At Renew we have but one rule: no perfect people allowed.
No one on our team would claim to have it all figured out.
In fact, some of us are more confused now as a follower of Jesus than before.
But the questions and the doubts and the valleys don’t scare us.

I’m honored to be a part of a faith community that is courageous enough to shed the masks at the door and be who they are.
Sure, its messy and complicated.
Broken and messed up and in need of hope.
And I love it.
Because this is the first step to realizing the invitation of grace that Jesus gives to us.
The story of the gospel is this: I am not okay. You are not okay. But that’s okay. Because God is more than okay.

I’m so grateful for our team.
It is a wild ride to see how our individual stories of brokenness fit into the One Story of Hope found in Jesus.
Because stories inspire more stories.

-J.R. Briggs

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