7 Reasons Why I Love Evangelism

On May 8th my team and I present Stories From The Shack. We think this show provides people who want to “keep the conversation about spirituality going” a rare opportunity to invite their friends to something that’s authentic and non manipulative. It will be fun, entertaining and deep. Instead of projecting one point of view it will provide people common ground to  “continue the conversation”. We don’t think you’ll have ever experienced anything quite like it. It’s evangelism without the distasteful parts. You don’t want to miss it. Get Tickets

1. It legitimizes my enthusiasm

I can openly admit that I care. I can own my passion. I can broadcast my desire for others to care. I get to be passionate and passionate people always have the biggest influence.


2. It rescues me from my biggest fear

One of our top three fears (you can choose the other two) is “what will people think if they find out  __________ about me.” Evangelism frees me from this anachronistic social convention .The reality is that if someone is thinking about you, it’s only temporary since life will see to it that they’ll soon be back to thinking about themself.


3. It’s reduces my counseling bills

How can I be “me” and still be part of a “we”. People spend millions of dollars paying “professional friends” (a.k.a. psychotherapists) to help them “explore” this dichotomy. Evangelism lets me do it for free. It forces me to sit with the tension of being true to myself while still staying connected to you.


4. It broadens me intellectually

I become a student of human beings, an amateur sociologist and cultural anthropologist.  I have to read, think and reflect on how human beings actually change their minds about things that are important to them. I become an avid student of evangelism experts regardless of their field of practice.


5. It keeps me honest

Evangelism is the act of attempting to change a person’s mind from one point of view to another. The person doing the evangelizing believes that the other person’s life will be improved if they “convert”. Evangelism forces me to say out loud what everyone else believes namely that the world would be a better place if you ate the food, bought the clothes, voted for the candidates, cheered the teams, drove the car or watched the reality shows that I do. Others deny they do this but evangelism practitioners celebrate it.


6. It keeps me humble

Given my inability to objectively “prove” what I believe to be true, I’m forced to admit what I don’t know and acknowledge the mystery of life. My beliefs are run through the sieve called your reality and I’m left with all a human can honestly claim, which is faith, hope and trust. This turns out to be all I actually need and provides me confidence without arrogance. I learn to pull the plank out of my own eye before getting the tweezers out to work on the splinter in yours. I stop comparing my best with your worst. I identify as a conversionist but refuse to become conversionistic.


7. It pulls me into dialog

Evangelism isn’t the business of closing people it’s the art of continuing the conversation. It’s not debate it’s dialog. I learn to be unusually interested in others. I notice, engage with and listen to people without judgment. I “stay in the room with difference” meaning while holding my own view I explore our differences with curiosity and respect seeking to learn what you can teach me. I host the conversation without controlling it and I resist anything that is contrived or manipulative. I never treat someone the way I would not want to be treated myself even at the risk of not converting them to my view.


Where is God When There’s No Happy Ending?

The dad with 5 young kids dies in a car crash
You don’t get the much sought after scholarship you prayed so hard for
The publisher tells you that your book proposal doesn’t fit their “voice”
A teenager shows signs of mental illness and doesn’t get over it
An atheist friend asks you to prove that God is real and you can’t

So often stories involving faith and God resolve to a happy conclusion. God intervenes or comes through at the last minute. It’s as if we feel obligated to protect his reputation. We hope he/she doesn’t notice our unbelief and eternally hold it against us.

But what about all the stories that don’t have a happy ending? Not just the dramatic stories but the everyday disappointments we routinely encounter. Where is God then?

Stories From The Shack takes this issue head on. We not only hear how Paul Young navigated abuse, disappointment, failure and rejection, we also hear how his readers did the same.

Sometimes a story is so big it demands a new way of being told.

Sometimes it’s too big for even a movie screen. And once in awhile a story is even bigger than the person who wrote it. That’s what happened with The Shack. The flood of over 100,000 stories coming from readers overwhelmed Paul’s capacity to respond. Lectures and speaking engagements could no longer express the emotions and capture the needs. Something new had to be created in order to catch the wave of response that was breaking in on Paul. That’s where the idea of a live show called Stories From The Shack came from.

Stories From The Shack is an exhilarating attempt to capture the interaction between Paul Young’s story and the thousands of stories that it triggered in people all over the world like this one…

“I am 28 years, i from brazil e don t speack engliss…sory, bus i want thankou very much for yours history…i m, gay ,aids, and today undersdod the love the jesus for me… i live your experience with you .God tuch me…i dont know speak more… kiss in your heart mac – thanks – thanks”

and this one…

“I’m 14 years old. My mom asked me to read this book because I had been getting into things that were bad for my health (mentally and physically). I would like to thank you for writing this book. For me, it changed my life. you probably get a lot of e-mails like this, but I would still like to thank
you. I have Clinical depression, and Like Mackenzie, i felt there was nowhere left to go. Your book was the spotlight shining onto the path the led the way to God. I don’t see him the way i did before. i saw him as an old man, wisdom in his eyes, and assertiveness in his voice. now i see him as a friend. always by my side.”

The emotions expressed in stories just like these are told using expressive dance, awesome music, aerial artists, humor and interactive conversations with the author and his guests. Stories From The Shack places the author inside a representation of the story and then follows him as he interacts with people who’ve also been moved by the story.

Stories From The Shack ultimately answers the most difficult question. Where is God when there’s no happy ending? If you’ve suffered a painful loss or know someone who has bring them to Stories From The Shack. If forgiveness for someone who’s wronged you eludes you, come to Stories From The Shack. If you’re tired of feeling alone and wonder if you’re the only one who asks this difficult question come to Stories From The Shack. May 8th at WAMU Theater in Seattle from 7-9 PM. Bring mom, its Mothers day.

100,000 stories… one is true the rest are real

Get Tickets here

What Does The Show Look Like?

We know it’s not a movie, a play or even your standard author reading, so what is it? This is the number one question we get asked. Because it is our first show we need people to be there to experience it so they can help us describe it to their friends. For starters I call it music for the eyes

Stories From The Shack is a live stage production featuring the kind of aerial artistry you’d expect to see at Spiderman, fabric manipulation normally associated with the Olympics, live music, sand artistry and world-class musical performances. It’s music for the eyes.

Just like words need paper and art needs a canvas, Stories From The Shack needs a live audience that brings their own shack stories. It’s the interplay between these stories that shapes, informs and colors Stories From The Shack into an experience that’s profoundly beautiful.

William Paul Young was born into a missionary family and spent his formative years in Papua New Guinea. For Paul the loss of innocence came far too early. It’s this loss and the confusion it ultimately wrought in his own life that propelled him to write The Shack.

The other 100,000 stories come from people who read The Shack.

A young man from Brazil sent this note, which while cryptic to the eye needs no translation for the heart.

“I am 28 years, i from brazil e don t speack engliss…sory, bus i want thankou very much for yours history…i m, gay ,aids, and today undersdod the love the jesus for me… i live your experience with you .God tuch me…i dont know speak more… kiss in your heart mac – thanks – thanks”

For millions of people The Shack has made it safe to talk even about the most sensitive of topics such as God!

“I have no belief in God and no sense of God’s love or presence. But I want to.
So much of what is in your book resonated deep in my soul. You painted a picture of love and acceptance that you labeled God. I crave the love and acceptance, but know not how to find it. I admire your insight into the needs we human beings have for connection, acceptance forgiveness and love. I suspect it will take a while for me to digest the meaning of your words, for me.”

One theatrically daring aspect of the show is the live conversations that take place between Paul Young and Jim Henderson. Instead of sitting down at a table they wander right into the middle of the show. It’s as if they’re taking a walk and suddenly find themselves inside a spectacle not unlike the types of scenes in The Wizard of Oz. These conversations provide the audience with a peek into the heart and mind of Paul Young. Where did The Shack originate? Is it true or is it fiction? Why is it controversial? How does it feel to have something like this happen? These conversations also invite the audience to eavesdrop and legally voyeur, something they never get at a movie or play

Young’s book has several scenes that leave readers feeling jarred. Stories From The Shack does the same taking on perhaps the most troublesome image of all – the abduction of Missy, Mack’s daughter at the lake. Let’s just say it’s a scene not to be missed. The tragedy unfolds and leaves the audience breathless but once again beauty reappears.

The mysterious star of the show is Papa, Paul Young’s African American Woman as God character. Papa makes random appearances sometimes simply taking a seat in the audience. She likes to hug so if you don’t, make sure and wear a button saying please do not hug me. Otherwise at Stories From The Shack you’re considered fair game for Papa. And it’s beautiful.

Stories From the Shack, May 8 – Seattle
Buy your ticket here

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Delilah To Be At Stories From The Shack – May 8th Seattle WAMU

LISTEN TO Delilah Stories From The Shack Radio Ad

Delilah, the most-listened-to-woman on radio in the U.S., embraced the medium when she was a middle-schooler in Reedsport, Oregon, reporting school news and sports on KDUN-AM, a small station in her hometown. Today, her soothing voice, open heart and love of music has expanded her audience from the folks in Reedsport to more than eight million people on over 200 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada.


Stories From the Shack, May 8 – WaMu Theatre Seattle

Buy your tickets here

Stay connected to the Stories