It’s Official: Storyline Christian Community

Charles Kiser —  May 19, 2008 — 18 Comments

Well, many of you know we’ve been laboring away at a name for a couple months—and what a long, arduous process it has been.

We started with a couple weeks of brainstorming, through which a couple potential names emerged (image and epic, if you wanted to know). We took them to our Dallas friends and asked them what they thought and received consistently negative feedback.

So we decided to go back to the drawing board.

Our struggles motivated us to enlist the help of an ad/marketing agency called Isphere. Chris Gaines, Isphere’s President, is a member of the Richland Hills Church and a creative mastermind. Take a look at some of his company’s work with Richland Hills at We knew after a lunch meeting with Chris that he would provide invaluable help and input to our process.

As of this morning, with encouragement from Chris and other friends, we’ve landed on Storyline Christian Community.

Why Storyline?

I’m hoping others will ask that same question. I know it’s weird and different, and that’s part of the intrigue. That’s partly why I love it. Because when you ask, I can tell you:

Storyline is a word for plot. It refers to the way a story moves, the direction it’s headed. All of our lives move along a storyline. Our storylines intersect with other people’s storylines.

What if there was one storyline that overarched every human’s personal storyline? What if there was one grand narrative that all of us were part of?

That’s exactly what we believe is going on in the world: God is weaving a storyline together out of all of our stories. And it’s up to us to choose whether or not our personal storylines intersect and merge with God’s.

What exactly is God’s storyline? Simply, that:

  • God created the world and humanity for the sake of genuine relationship with what he made;
  • humanity decided to go it’s own way and brokenness ensued in humanity and the world;
  • God takes on human form in Jesus of Nazareth and through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection God provides a way for humanity and the world the be healed;
  • one day God will bring about the total restoration of the world and humanity that began when God raised Jesus from the dead;
  • and in the meantime, the community of people that find healing in Jesus comprise the Church and they exist to invite others into the same kind of healing and partner with God for the sake of the world’s restoration.

What a story! This is the story that gets me out of bed in the morning.

Why Christian Community (and not Church)?

Like the early church, we chose functional words to describe who we are. The word “church” (Greek: ekklesia) was actually a word the early Christians borrowed from their Greco-Roman cultural warehouse. This word for church frequently referred to a government legislative assembly.

So in the same spirit, we are a Christian Community. We are Christian because we live by the spirituality of Jesus, the Christ/Messiah; and we are a Community because we are a network of relationships, not an institution.

At the same time, we’re not averse to the word church. It’s a well-known word in our culture (though packed with lots of baggage). We are a church. We are church starters. And we are, by God’s grace, a part of the universal Church. We are in no way ashamed of that.

[Side note for Greek nerds: Dr. Allen Black at Harding Grad School cautions against pulling theological meanings out of the etymology of ekklesia—as in the church as a “called out” people (ek = out; klesia = called). Making that kind of meaning would be equivalent to saying that a butterfly is a fly whose wings are greased with butter. Ridiculous. The etymology totally misses the actual import and reference of the word. Sorry—I’ve been holding on to that little gem for a long time.]

What’s funny is that my first official presentation for this new church at a Mission Alive Strategy Lab was arbitrarily called “Story Church.” We’ve come full circle in many ways.

Tonight the Kisers and the Porches are going out on the town to celebrate the victory of arriving at a name. We will think of you as we enjoy our crème brulee.

We’ll keep you posted as we develop a website at (and .org, and .net—we purchased them all!)

Next week I’ll share what a typical house church gathering has looked like thus far.

Thanks for your prayers.

Charles Kiser


I’m a pastor, missionary, and contextual theologian in Dallas, Texas. I’m committed to equipping and coaching Christians to start fresh expressions of Christian community in Dallas County — communities of hospitality, inclusion, justice, and healing.

18 responses to It’s Official: Storyline Christian Community


    I know you are pleased and I am glad you are celebrating. We will be praying for Storyline Christian Community and the healing and peace that will flow through it as it weaves the story of God, the Kisers and the Porches through the stories of the people God is reaching and calling in Uptown.


    I love the name–and I can see that it is something that will capture the attention so you can help as God captures the hearts of those who hear it. Kudos!

    Denise Kiser (Mom) May 19, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Wow! I love it! I sense the spirit at work here. You have a lot to celebrate. Get to it!

    I love you and lift you in prayer continually.


    Now we can pray for you by name!

    I also want to say that I totally agree with your tag–that was kind of nerdy Greek. But in the best way. =)


    Love it all! You deserve your creme brulee…

    Michael Arnold May 20, 2008 at 7:07 am

    What a current and applicable name, nice choice. It instantly made me think of the importance and value of the postmodern narrative, which I believe is an individual and authentic reality of man’s search for a place in the community of God. It also reminded me of the applicability and usage of the dialogue between film and theology, which would work perfectly with the community you are living in. I have some excellent books that would help you facilitate this dialogue within a small group setting if you are interested. Give me a call.


    The world is full of people who tell their lives in moments. Your name will remind people that their life is more than moments, however powerful, for good or bad, those moments may be. Storyline honors their past, the ways that God has always known, loved, and sought them. Storyline suggests the drama of their present moment and offers a future and hope. What a powerful invitation is there in your name. I love it, and I believe it will serve well. Congratulations.


    AWESOME!! Enjoy having that burden lifted from your shoulders. We love you guys!!


    Praise God! I am so excited for you guys! What a great name! I know it will lead you into meaningful conversations and deeper into people’s lives as a result. Everyone loves a good story…


    Congrats on the new name — let me know if I can be of any assistance with the Web site. Would love to pitch in to get something up.

    Jeremy Gregg
    Central Dallas Ministries


    Perfect and non “churchy. ” Continued prayers for you guys.


    I love the name. What a great milestone to have behind you!



    The name ROCKS!!!!! I love it. God has blessed you tremendously in this. His Holy Spirit is illuminating you guys. I am pleased with your humility to seek so much input. I think you are getting the confirmation that this name is from God. Be blessed! Duane


    It sounds wonderful! I smiled when I read the name even before your explanation. Life makes so much more sense in the narrative — hello, the Bible! I’m excited with you all, and hope your creme brulee (?) was just as exciting as settling on a name.


    I enjoy the name, I really do.


    You guys are great!!! Thank you for letting me meet some of your members and allowing me to play frisbee w/ ya’ll. I had alot of fun and it was nice.


    Praying for your efforts.
    Funny how things happen…I came across RHCC podcast on itunes and just listened to your sermon from a couple nights ago.
    God Bless!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s