Theology of Story

Our stories are not isolated incidents to be shelved, rather they are histories to remember and steward.

Online certificate course for care-providers.

Story work, creating a path forward

Is the art of storytelling new? Is it simply the latest fad? Theology of Story will demonstrate that it’s not. The Bible is mostly narrative, God’s stories progressively unfolding truth. History is His Story, the story of God moving among His people.

Story work draws us into God’s presence

His stories tell us of His covenant, His promise of relationship. As the supporting actor in His redemptive plan, our stories fit into His. Story work inevitably leads us to God as it directs our attention toward Him. In articulating out stories, we’re essentially pleading to know Him.

Story work carefully considers the traumatic impact

In story work we’re asking the hard questions, “Where were you, God? How could this happen? What does it look like to heal? To forgive? To “move on”? Scripture demonstrates how God’s people wrestle similarly. It provides a language, words that give voice to experience. It confirms God’s presence. It promises He will never fail us.

Are you a care-provider? Are you curious about thinking creatively about biblical care and contemporary methods? How can you enhance your methodology for providing training and care? Theology of Story gives answers.

Our experienced instructors, Melissa Affolter and Ann Maree Goudzwaard have developed a comprehensive course that will increase familiarity with concepts and terminology to help you build your biblical model of crisis care for one-another ministry.

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Questions Answered

What is Story?

Story, in our context, is an account of events, people, and the dynamics of a crisis. Care-providers are instructed on how to gently guide those impacted, to document behaviors, actions, and typical responses. Building a timeline of these accounts is extremely beneficial for both legal and personal records, but also for closure, healing, and overcoming. Through our study of Theology of Story, we also look for God’s redemptive purposes as well as the ultimate source for our hope.

How is Story used?

Stories can be implemented for different purposes at different times.

  • Helping others remember events validates their experience
  • Remembering truthfully, finding accurate descriptions and biblical language to describe the situation, promotes whole person caregiving
  • Story work helps those in crises learn trigger points and then develop strategies for conquering distress
  • Helping others articulate their story assists your efforts to identify God’s perspective
  • Stories can help educate sufferers of specific beliefs that fear, toxic shame, and harmful teachings caused
  • Story work helps one find their story of suffering, oppression, and fear in His story of hope, healing, and restoration
  • Helping others lament and grieve the details of their story moves them a bit further down the path toward healing
Who are my Instructors?

Ann Maree Goudzwaard

Ann Maree is the founder and Executive Director of Help[H]er. She advocates for women in crisis, consults, trains, and produces resources for shepherding women in the church well. Ann Maree has a Doctor of Ministry in counseling. She is a trained domestic abuse advocate (CTP) and has a certificate for 3 courses from the Global Trauma Recovery Institute.

Melissa Affolter

Melissa is a Counselor and Content Director at Fieldstone Counseling. She is also the course creator and facilitator of ReStoried, a support group for women who have experienced abuse and trauma. Melissa has earned an MA in Biblical Counseling and received further training with the Global Trauma Recovery Institute as well as CCEF. She is a guest on Help[H]er’s Safe to Hope podcast.

What are the assigned books?
How do I enroll?

Once enrollment reopens, a link/button will be provided on this page where you will be guided to the payment process and welcomed to the Theology of Story course.

To receive an email notification, please subscribe to our mailing list. (Subscribe form is on this page.)


Student: $800

Audit: $150

Group: TBA

Scholarships: Please contact us.

Dr. Heather Evans

Safe to Hope podcast

Thank you so much for the work that you’re doing because you are highlighting information that Christians and the church desperately need. The way that you’re going about doing it is giving us an invitation to bear witness. And when we bear witness, people are changed. The one who is giving the testimony courageously, vulnerably sharing is providing an opportunity for them to find their voice again. So you are creating that setting. Ann Maree, I can’t thank you enough for the work that you’re doing. 

Dr. Diane Langberg

Suffering and the Heart of God

You cannot call or talk people out of suffering or trauma or addiction or of great grief. You must go to them and sit with them and listen and understand. And then little by little you can begin to walk with them toward a new and different place. You cannot help if you do not enter their darkness.

Dr. David Pooler

Safe to Hope podcast

Thank you. I want to just say that I still have hope for our church leaders in the sense that, while this is a really tough one, I have hope that there are people hearing this that are going to take appropriate action. And also, I just want to say to any survivor who’s listening: “I see you. I hear you. Your story really matters, and I’m glad that you’re in a process of transformation.”  I would just end with comments for both positions of those in leadership. Yes, I believe in you. You can do something different and something better and you can make a difference. And to those of you who have been injured, I would say, “We see you; we include you; and we want to see you flourish and be a part of helping transform our churches.”

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Looking Forward
  • Swag Shop of branded goodies
  • Festival of Remembrance journal
  • Theology of Story II course
  • Remember Bible Study
  • Documenting resource for counselors