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God Moments

Advent and telling our story
by Faith+Lead | December 6, 2021

By Seth Wynands

When I was starting my first summer as a camp counselor, I had to share something called a God Moment.

“God Moments” are short stories of how God has impacted us, and over the course of the summer, every counselor told theirs a few times around the campfire. And I say I “had” to do this because, well, it was certainly not something I was looking forward to. This task, like many other bewilderingly new parts of camp life, felt pretty daunting. 

Though I had grown in faith as a young person, I was, like many others, pretty uncomfortable talking about God in my life. Eventually though, I prepared a story of an answered prayer that barely mentioned God at all and took all of about 90 seconds to tell. And I sped through my first telling in about 60. 

As the early days of summer turned into weeks, though, something surprising happened. 

During the summer, I heard a lot of God Moments. And as I listened, and as I got the chance to share my own God Moment a few more times, my understanding of God’s presence began to change. I began to see more fully how God might have been at work, not only in responding to my prayer but in shaping me and calling me into new relationships and deeper discipleship. 

God Moments in Advent

Advent is, at its heart, a season about God Moments. It’s a season full of stories of God Moments that move us toward the ultimate God Moment: the inbreaking of God in the person of Jesus. 

And, yes, we do tell stories of God Moments all year long—it’s kind of the church’s thing! But Advent, in particular, is a season of telling the story of how God showed up in the flesh, and it’s a season of preparing for God to show up in our world again. 

Last month in this space, the Rev. Will Starkweather urged us to steward our stories by sharing them, that others might find grace, peace, and hope. My encouragement for you is to give your stories of God Moments a chance this advent, and see what God does with it. 

And if you’re like me and are a bit stuck on the start, remember that you don’t have to have final answers for what God has been up to. We steward our stories not by writing them in stone but in wondering about God. One of the many paradoxes of our faith is that we believe two things simultaneously:  

1. God is present and active in our world. 

2. God’s presence and activity are beyond our understanding. 

So it is more than ok to wonder about your God Moments—in fact, I’d encourage it! Stewarding our stories of God in our world will always be about wondering what God might be up to. 

Practices to Share

Here are a few places I hope to share and invite the stewarding of God Moments this Advent:  

  • At Bible study and other congregational small groups: by asking about what God might have been up to in their lives this year.
  • At family gatherings: by asking for and telling family stories with relatives of all ages. 
  • At church leadership meetings: by asking what God might have been up to in our congregation and our local community this year. 
  • In my prayer journal: by writing on the question, “Where might God have shown up for me and my community this year?”

Your Turn

Discuss these ideas and more in the Faith+Lead Learning Lab, our private social network for church leaders like you. Join now for free.

About the Author
Seth Wynands is an ordained pastor and disciple among the many disciples of Bethesda Lutheran Church in Carlton, Minnesota. He lives with his wife, Andrea, and a cat (only one of whom helps pay the bills). He tries not to take himself too seriously and occasionally succeeds. 

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