Something ELSE The Church Can Learn From AA

A few weeks ago, a friend directed me to a priceless sentence from the “How It Works” section of Alcoholics Anonymous’ “Big Book”:

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like,
what happened,
and what we are like now.

That’s how recovering alcoholics are to share their experience, strength, and hope with newcomers to the path.

I love the three fold movement. 

What we used to be like.
What happened.
What we are like now.

I love how it’s wrapped in story rather than in dogma.  Experience rather than prescription.

I love how it embodies so much of what we in the church call evangelism — the art and science of sharing the “good news” of Jesus with people who have yet to embrace it.  Or Him.

If you follow Christ, that’s the story you have to share, whether you’ve wrestled with alcohol or not.

You have a what we used to be likeThat could include “self-destructive,” “cruel,” “bigoted,” “anxious” or even “self-righteous.”  Maybe all of the above.

You have a what happenedJesus happened.  You felt his love. You understood the agony of his sacrifice.  You encountered the power of his resurrection.  You celebrated that he has done for you what you could never do for yourself. 

You have a what we are like now.  This is of course the hardest part.  But for our stories to have meaning and impact, that what we are like now will need to include words like “loving,” “gracious,” “sober,” “content,” and “faithful.” 

Do you have such a story?

Then by all means disclose it.