Mahalo ke Akua Grant Lee!
Grant’s legacy of being a mentor and encourager for so many in ministry today
continues on. We all can identify with Grant’s soft voice, his giggling laughs, and cherished meals where the conversations were more delicious than the food.
When Grant received his Doctor of Ministry at San Francisco Theological Seminary his “Talkstory Dissertation” became a guiding light for many! I was involved with curriculum publishing with my media company in Northern California, and we talked back then about taking his theological paper and putting it into a simplified non-theological handbook on evangelism.
I had a legion of editors, copywriters, and illustrators; but after several attempts we both decided we had to seek a “local editor” in Hawaii because all the samples of the work produced didn’t have the island feel. For years, we sought someone to edit – but we could never find someone.
We bemoaned that not many local Christians saw that scribal ministry in its many facets including media was never embraced as ministry. Meanwhile, serving in Northern California I was in a four-way UCC covenant with the denomination as a “liturgical media missionary.” Grant’s encouragement to utilize my media skills in publishing and ministry continues to this day.
In 2015, when he retired, he finally published his “talkstory” book as a social biography “Storied Person” reflecting how he has taught that ministry is not about oneself but everyone working and playing together. And learning to listen and embrace the story of each other. Can you hear him say these words,
“It’s not about ME, but about WE!” Grant edited the book himself and it continues to be a gift to the world. For myself, I’ve tried to model his “talkstory” style of ministry and to continue to embrace the life stories of people in the church and in the community around the church. His focus was to help us learn “God’s Story” – “My Personal Story” – and then integrate everyone else’s life experiences into “Our Story.” We moved from being “witnesses for Christ” to “with-nesses for Christ.”
Too many churches today rely on only the pastor to “tell the story” or some technique to “tell the story” rather than listening and contextualizing in our local perspectives. Mahalo ke Akua Grant Lee . . . for all those times . . . and your gift of helping us become storied persons for Christ! May we continue to be God’s storied people!
– Kahu Rennie Mau