One of the biggest buzzword in the Christian publishing world is ‘story.’ There are countless books which help us connect our stories to God’s story of redemption as described in the Old & New Testaments. Evangelistic books tell us how to ‘share the story.’ Self-help books alá Don Miller which commend to us a purposeful, exciting story of a life (read Miller’s Million Miles in a Thousand Years or attend his Storified conference). There is the Hauerwasian indictment of those of us in post-Enlightenment late modernity, “As people who have no story except the story we had when we thought we had no story.” There are narrative approaches to ethics, preaching, theology, personal finance, etc. Who doesn’t love a good story?
There are other popular buzzwords out there: missional, revolution, leadership, life. Henriët Schapelhouman has managed to write a book with all of these key terms: The Story Lives: Leading a Missional Revolution. Schapelhouman has a masters in global leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary and is the founder and president of Semper Vita Institute, a complany which utilizes Myers-Briggs and Strength Finders to help buisness leaders ‘discover and develop their personal wiring.’ Besides her current professional ventures, she draws on twenty years of experience as a ministry leader.
In The Story Lives, Schapelhouman weaves together her own story and other contemporary real-life stories with God’s story. She is theologically rooted. She also wants to help people to thrive doing some serious good in the manner that God has wired us, to connect in community, to live a meaningful life, to partner with others for the greater good, to lead well (helping others thrive in their story), and to tell our story in a way that invites people into a deeper more meaningful life.
This is a book which is one part personal growth, and one part ministry/mission minded. Occasionally I wondered who the intended audience of this book is. Sometimes Schapelhouman seems to be addressing a broad, Christian audience. At other times, she hones in on those in leadership (especially in the last couple chapters). I appreciated Schapelhouman’s ability to draw people into a deeper faith, and more ‘missional engagement’ with the people in the neighborhood. My favorite part was her chapter on partnering between churches and non-profits serving the community (see chapter eight).
This book is solid, but was not a ‘game-changer’ for me. Schapelhouman says many great things which accord with other writers on the missional church; yet she does it well so I commend her book. Schapelhouman will help you live a compelling (missional) story. I kidded above about the ‘buzz words’ but I think that she does a masterful job of encouraging us toward a more inviting and nourishing spiritual life. There is great stuff here! Her ‘revolution’ is less about a ‘call to arms’ than it is about changing our comfortable life to a risky faith which dares to care for others (she even tells a story about her son working to share his paycheck with a homeless couple challenged her own lack of faith and commitment. I found my self challenged and compelled well reading this book. I give it four stars. ★★★★
Notice of material connection I received this book from the publisher or author via Speakeasy in exchange for my honest review.