How one ministry is telling a story

Book cover

I’ve been recommending for years now that ministries should be telling their stories. Some ministries are pretty good at telling stories to their supporters, but they could be telling some of their stories to the public too. Not only does public storytelling promote a particular ministry, but it also increases awareness of the value of the Christian ministry sector to the public. When people wonder what good Christian charities produce, your stories are powerful answers that not only support our public benefit (and therefore our charitable status), but make our faith more attractive to potential believers as well!

I just came across a publication of the Bible League of Canada (a CCCC Certified Member) called One Dominion, which tells the story of how the Word of God shaped the Canada we live in today. I’m bringing the book to your attention as an inspiring example of how a story for the public might be told.

Here’s why I think the Bible League’s way of telling this story is effective:

  • It is topical: The softcover coffee-table quality book was published to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, so it has a connection to an event that the general public is currently interested in. They are more likely to read the book now than they would at some other time. Kudos to the Bible League for a timely publication!
  • It builds on the familiar: They’ve successfully connected the story of Canada to the story of their cause – the Word of God – by showing how Scripture has been publicly or quietly behind key events in our history. It takes facts that should be familiar to the public and weaves in the not-so-familiar facts, leaving people feeling that the Canada they know has been explained to them and they now understand it better. Some of the connections with the Word of God are written in stone (such as on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill), and other connections are in the way the Word of God has motivated people to live out their faith in a public way, such as by creating an educational institution or a hospital.
  • It has a through-story: The Bible League crafted the story well. Its structure reminds me of the structure of Luke-Acts, which has a trajectory from the remoteness of Judea to the centre of the world, Jerusalem, and then travels away from Jerusalem to the outermost parts of all the world. In a similar way, One Dominion starts with the entire nation of Canada and our place in the world, then zeroes in on individual people of faith throughout our history who did something good, and finally projects outward exploring how individuals today might affect the world tomorrow. It seems to come full circle, leaving the reader to wonder, “I know what individuals did to make my world so great, so now what can I do to make the world of the next few generations great as well?”

The story’s point is that Canada was shaped by Christians for a purpose, and Christians today should still do what they can to support that purpose. 

Although the book’s distribution isn’t all that wide (primarily sold from the Bible League’s website and a few Christian bookstores), it presents our faith well to those who do not yet believe, and who may even question what good Christianity has done for Canada. It presents Christian faith in a way that others can appreciate what it accomplished, and perhaps might even give it some consideration for themselves.

My only suggestions for improvement, if there is a second edition, are:

  1. Indicate where the gorgeous pictures were taken! There are many places I’d love to go based on the beautiful photos, but where are those locations?
  2. Since it is essentialily a picture book with commentary, put a picture on the front cover.

Thanks to the Bible League for their investment in such a worthy project! It is a well-crafted book that all Canadian Christians can be proud of. Through this project, the Bible League of Canada is inspiring other ministries to creatively tell their stories in the public realm. Well done!

“The book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

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