A Story Worth Living, Part Two

Last week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dan Allender introduced us to the upcoming film A Story Worth Living, which documents a backcountry motorcycle adventure Dan participated in last summer and invites us to pursue a more meaningful kind of adventure—one that is marked by danger, the necessity of risk, the opportunity to be humbled, and the experience of being met by others and by God in a new way.

The image is this: wherever you go and whatever you do, it should demand of you an engagement with the kingdom of God.

This week, as we look ahead toward summer and dream about what it might hold, Dan engages the concept of a “mission trip,” which many podcast listeners, especially those with backgrounds in the church, are probably familiar with. The classic example is a week-long trip for which participants raise funds and go with the support of their church community, usually planning for a specific project—like building a church, performing dramas, or sharing testimonies and distributing Bibles. While the host church or group might see it as an opportunity to educate visitors about the work they do and potentially meet long-term financial partners, they also often end up exhausted and worn-out.

“It’s not a bad deal, but the fact is very, very few churches end up really counting the cost for going on a trip like this,” says Dan.“I think we can do better than that if we begin to do more thoughtful labor about the realm of story.” He then engages the idea of travel that is not just about seeing the sights and finding souvenirs, but about meeting people, entering the homes and experiences of others, sharing meals, hearing and telling stories.

“That’s the process that this motorcycle trip and all adventures are ultimately designed to take us into—the experience of being able to participate and suffer, and to know joy and celebration in the presence of others. That requires time, that requires table, that requires food, that requires the invitation of a host, of a guest, coming into that world in order to receive, and give, and share, and nothing—nothing in the world matters more than those joining moments with another person and another family and another community.”

Dan shares the story of a sailing trip to Thailand with a close group of friends, which turned into a long-term relationship with a particular place, one marked by financial investment, time, sweat, and deep relationships.

The trip itself pales in significance to the delight of the encounter with what adventure is really meant to take you to—and that’s the heart of God.

Check out the trailer for A Story Worth Living below, and you can search for participating theaters here.