How does the gospel impact or intersect with our ethnic stories? This document lays out three steps for coaching students through reflecting on their ethnic stories and The Big Story (Four Circles). It includes a blank worksheet with questions that will help students articulate their ethnic stories.
THE BIG STORY (FOUR CIRCLES) & YOUR ETHNIC STORY
STEP 1: Assess your awareness of your ethnic story.
What is your ethnic background?
When was the first time you realized you were ______?
- Be as specific as you can. For example:
- “I’m Scottish and German American” instead of “I’m white”
- “I’m black, descended from slavery” or “I’m Nigerian-American” instead of “I’m black”
- “I’m Taiwanese American” instead of “I’m Asian”
- Speaking in terms of specific ethnic background versus macro-racial background is helpful as we affirm redemptive ethnic identity for all people in Christ.
- Think about when your ancestors/family first planted roots in the United States—whether it was 15 or 250 years ago, or if they lived here long before any people immigrated to the US.
STEP 2: Invite Jesus into your ethnic story.
Spend some time praying and asking God to open new doors in how you understand your own cultural story, to heal the parts of you that need healing, and to help you hear his voice. Ask 2-3 trusted prayer partners to be praying for you as you engage.
Circle 1 and 2:
- What are your general emotions or thoughts towards being your ethnicity? What words come to mind?
- Have there been specific moments or memories in your life where you really loved being your ethnicity? Times when you wished you weren’t?
- Say more: What’s the specific story? Identify a moment that has the most weight/ significance for you.
- How do you think Jesus feels about that moment? Has Jesus ever said anything or shown anything to you about that moment?
- If their theology indicates that they have a broken view of Jesus or the Father, jump to a quick scripture study of Luke 15:11-32 or John 15.
- If Jesus were to be present that moment, what would he want to say to you? How would he respond?
- Take a moment and listen: Does he want to reframe anything? Want you to confess anything? Are there lies you believe about yourself that he wants you to break off? Truths to replace them instead? Gifts He wants to give you?
- How does Jesus want to invite (or maybe has been inviting you) to use your ethnicity to bring healing to others?
- How does he want to affirm how he’s already used you?
- Are there particular people he’s inviting you to love, be intentional with, or respond to?
- Allow room for confession, repentance or commitment
STEP 3: Explore your story.
How is God redeeming your ethnic identity? (Based on Four Circles). (Download PDF attachment to view worksheet).