Sara Thackwray reports back on the experience of a group of worship leaders who participated in a weekend workshop aimed at promoting healing and reconciliation through personal storytelling.
On Friday October 5, Burn 24-7 gathered worship leaders from across Nelson Mandela Bay at Mentor’s Kraal in Jeffreys Bay for a two-day workshop with Heartlines, the Centre for Values Promotion.
Approximately 30 leaders attended from about 15 different churches.
Based in Johannesburg, Heartlines acknowledges that we all act according to our values, namely the things that we each believe to be important. However, there can often be a disconnect between what we claim to value, and the way in which we actually live. Thus the weekend with Heartlines was about facilitating a transition from “professed values to lived values”, an imperative for us as Christ-followers who must always look to bridge any divide between our intellectually acknowledged theology and our daily practice.
Though partnering with all faith groups and across a variety of corporate and community contexts, Heartlines holds a Christian worldview.
This weekend, NMB worship leaders had the privilege of being led by two powerful, charismatic men of God, Olefile Masangane and Hubert Tiger. We were also served excellently by Heartlines administrator, Blantina Matsimela.
Transforming behaviour through storytelling
The “What’s Your Story” project looks to transform behaviour through storytelling. It was launched in 2016 to catalyse conversations around values and race, difference and understanding.
The weekend workshop began by equipping participants with valuable communication skills, and the rest of the day was spent sharing our “stories” in groups.
No feedback was given initially while everyone shared their stories, as all were instructed to “suspend” judgement as part of the communication process.
The next morning, the day began with each group member affirming some aspect of others’ stories.
From there, the focus moved to contrasting current realities with a hoped for future reality, while also brainstorming some of the obstacles to seeing that future realised.
Things then got very practical with the charting of practices that need to stop, start or continue, so as to outline some first steps toward a new reality.
The workshop involved input from the Heartlines facilitators, group brainstorming sessions, cooperative feedback, physical theatre, fellowship over meals, worship and prayer and, of course, storytelling.
The “What’s Your Story?” workshop is truly a profound and meaningful and, as one might imagine, challenging experience to be a part of.
In particular, it was incredible to see every participant bringing Christ to the centre of every moment as the only hope for our nation.
Relationship is at the heart of unity, and Christ is going to return for a unified Bride. Heartlines is playing an undeniable role in seeing this accomplished.
Feedback on the storytelling process
This is what some of the leaders had to say about the weekend:
“I learnt that scars remind us of where we’ve come from, but not where we’re going.” — David Kyd, Oxygen Life Church
“My mind is transformed and my eyes are definitely open to people even more.” — Christopher Williams, Word of Faith Christian Centre.
“Our stories were so diverse in our circumstances and our journeys, but yet so similar in our pain, our joy and emotions.” — Antoinette Martin of NG Kerk, Lorraine.
“In the world, when people think of race reconciliation, they refer to the fact that we have the same heart, but what made this time so powerful was that, as believers, we could camp around the fact that we have the same Father and carry the same Spirit.” — Robynn King of Oxygen Life Church.