Storylines: Chapter One

Charles Kiser —  December 2, 2009 — 3 Comments

We’ve begun a new series of videos we’re calling Storylines – personal stories of Storyline people who are discovering their place in God’s story.

The makings of the first Storylines video began with five people praying together about a year ago.

We – the Kisers – had just been sent out by the Riviera (now Tribeca) church with a small team to start the Trianon church.

I still remember our first gatherings with our teammates, Patrick and Lauren Cone. We concluded the end of our meetings, as we do to this day, with the “empty chair prayer” – a prayer that points to the symbolic empty chair in the room as a way of reminding us of our mission to connect with those who are disconnected from God and/or Christian community.

In those days, there were more empty chairs than filled chairs.

One night after the empty chair prayer, Patrick scanned our empty living room and said, “You know, not too long from now, this room is going to be full of people. They’ll be overflowing to the dining room table and hanging out in the kitchen. I can see it now.”

Over the course of the next several weeks we began to pray during our empty chair prayer for one of Patrick’s co-workers. Patrick mentioned having good conversations with her and that she was a bit hesitant about church.

Then he started inviting her to join us for a house church gathering. And after a while, Deborah came.

I remember having emotional conversations with Deborah when she first started participating. She was in the midst of some pretty big life transitions and was putting the pieces together again.

In the months that followed, I saw Deborah grow and blossom in ways only God was capable of facilitating.

Before we knew it she was coordinating justice initiatives for our house church. This summer she organized the Neighbors’ Cookout that Storyline hosted in partnership with SoupMobile that fed hundreds of our homeless friends.

I remember nights when Deborah came to house church gatherings tired and drained from a long work week. She would say, “I’m so tired, but I wouldn’t miss this for anything. This charges me up. This is my family.”

Last month, in a living room full of people, the Trianon Church sent Deborah with a team of people led by Patrick and Lauren Cone to start the fourth Storyline house church.

Deborah is hosting the new church’s gatherings at her huge antique house in old east Dallas.

Just a couple weeks ago, four people sat around the living room in that big house and prayed for God to fill the empty chair again with those who are disconnected from God.

This story shows Storyline’s values for dependence on God, mission, life change and genuine relationships in action.

I pray God repeats this story hundreds and thousands of times in the Storyline Community in the years to come.

Because the Storyline Community – the Church – exists for people like Deborah.

You can also view this video and others at the Storyline website.

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.

3 responses to Storylines: Chapter One


    Deborah is a precious & beautiful child of God, & HE loves her so much! I’m proud of how Patrick caught her radiance on film….


    You guys have began something pretty awesome there Charles. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit jealous. Keep it up! And keep us posted!


    What a great, God-honoring, people-connecting story. Questions like “How can I help you with that?” Hummm… sounds like a community that’s not too bad at Resourcing.

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