Donald Miller

October 31, 2009

“I took the money you gave me from Blue Like Jazz and I bought a really comfortable chair and I sat in it and I watched Oprah for a whole season.” This is how Donald Miller began his Big Room session this morning.

He talked about the art of story.

In a good story, a character wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.

Story is a sense-making device. It’s a lot like music–both make sense of things by engaging the brain in a powerful way.

The Bible includes a lot of narrative because story is so powerful. The Bible rarely explains storys–just tells stories.

We have a weird relationship with story in the Bible. We always want to make the stories in the Bible about us. But these stories are not about us because they are about Jesus. We always want to get something out of it, but God wants us to enjoy the story and spending time with God.

As youthworkers, we need to direct our students to live through stories and develop their character.

Protagonists tell a great story if they sacrifice of themselves for the benefit of other people. Self righteous protagonists never tell a good story.

Success doesn’t matter in life. We don’t want success, we want a more meaningful story.

If we wander through life and we don’t really know what we want, our life feels meaningless.

The average Americans encounter 3,000 commercial messages each day. That’s 3,000 times each day that our story is being hijacked.

Stories have conflict. Every great story has conflict. But we avoid conflict because we are taught that we should avoid it. However, God puts conflict in our lives.

As Christians, we should appreciate conflict because it is the only way change happens. If we avoid conflict, our stories are boring and uninspired.

Some day, all conflict will be resolved. But this will not happen until the wedding feast of the lamb.

In the church, we teach that everyone has a God-shaped hole. The only thing that will fill this hole and make things right is Jesus. THIS IS FALSE. IT IS A LIE.

We got this idea from 3,000 commercials a day. We’ve turned Jesus into a product and we’re killing people with this idea.

The idea that Jesus is going to make everything better is FALSE. We ride an emotional roller coaster because we don’t know the secret of being content.

As Christians, we need to tell better stories with our lives.

His talk ended with Lanny Donaho interviewing him about his upcoming book, “Father Fiction.”

He told the story about how a youth minister took him under his wing just as Don was starting to get into destructive behavior. This youth minister invited him to a book study, told him he was good with literature, and invited him to write a column in the student newsletter.

Don said, “It’s a youth pastor’s job to lie (about the YP saying he was good with literature).”

He writes today because a youth minister told him he was good at it. He was rescued from a destructive life because a youth minister to him he mattered.

He talked about growing up without a father and about forgiveness.

He defined forgiveness: “Carrying the burden someone else has given you without holding that person responsible.”

One response to Donald Miller

  1. Hi there,

    I wanted to invite you to a webinar hosted by Donald Miller next Thursday morning on the subject of his new “Convergence” DVDs for small groups (mostly). Convergence is Miller at his best: doing honest talk about faith. On the first dvd set he talks to Dan Allender, Phyllis Tickle, Lauren Winner. He just recorded the next set with Randy Alcorn, Henry Cloud, John Townsend. You can listen in Thursday, Dec. 17 at (11 am PT, 12 pm MT, 1 pm CT, 2 pm ET). Go to to RSVP for the webinar & we'll be sure to send you a reminder.
    You can learn more about Convergence at If you have any further questions please feel free to email Monique@Lovell-

    Monique Sondag