How to be an Effective Storyteller

Lately I have been thinking about my life concerning the good, bad, and ugly moments I have had over the course there of. I remember exercising by doing my routine walk like I would normally do every morning and the subject matter of how to be effective when articulating the stories in the bible along with my personal testimonies of what God has done for me and how to persuade others on the faith concerning the Good News of Jesus Christ kept running through my mind to the point that I knew I needed to write about this subject.

When we look at scripture from the Holy Bible we see the method in which Jesus used to teach, correct, and persuade his audience, the method in question for those who have yet to discover it was simply telling a story, teaching spiritual concepts by using natural examples and referring to the old testament teachings, and prophets. For instance, lets look at Mark chapter 4 in this chapter Jesus is teaching people how God uses men and women to spread the gospel but at this time he used a parable or story to explain this concept which will later be explained. Starting in the first verse: 1 Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. 2 He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

3“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

It is important for me to mention that Jesus had a public and a private ministry, his private ministry was to those who did ministry along with him, this included the twelve disciples and others who are not mentioned by name. After Jesus taught the people with this story his disciples came to him because even they did not understand his parable.

Starting in verse 10 Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant. 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders,

Jesus further goes on to explain the parable used in verse 3-9 starting in verse 13 Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? 14 The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. 15 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. 16 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

So we see here that Jesus was effective in his approach to teach people even though no one truly understood his story because it had to be revealed to them, now if we go back up to the 12th verse in Mark chapter 4 Jesus tells his disciples: 12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

‘When they see what I do,

they will learn nothing.

When they hear what I say,

they will not understand.

Otherwise, they will turn to me

and be forgiven.’”

The reason for this some of you might ask was because God sent His Word in the form of a man in order to reconcile us (mankind) back to Himself. Consider the scripture in John 1 “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.” And if we go further into the book of John, we discover this scripture John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Furthermore, Jesus had to die on our behave and if the people would have understood and repented then they would have turned to him for forgiveness and he needed to be crucified covering the sacrificing requirement for sin which is talked about in the old testament. Even though this example was set under different circumstances and there are many factors to consider in this particular teaching, I’m simply showing how impactful and persuasive stories can be and with the help of the Holy spirit who opens our eyes and reveals the message giving us the understanding we are then able to learn from the story because it has been given for us to know just like Jesus told his disciples.

I wrote this because it is a scriptural fact that God wants us to tell people about him from what we have learned as well as tell people what He has done for us personally, yes this includes those good, bad, and ugly moments that have happened in the history of our lives.  We cannot help the fact that we as Christians need each other, we often times judge each other before we find out or gain the necessary information that would unite us instead of separating us. I must admit that I am guilty of having false perceptions about people and the Holy Spirit reminded me to talk to people find out their story by this I mean if they or the individual has either heard the Gospel message already and why or why not have they or the individual decided to believe or not believe in the Good News.

More plainly put we could gain insight such as have they ever considered becoming a Christian (for unbelievers) if so what led or is leading them or the individual to the faith?, and how has the Good News impacted their life? and those they have relationship with? and then instead of judgement and false theories the insight gained would bring about change and prayerfully change that will help another person and so on and so forth. There are numerous questions that can be asked and we can learn from each others history when we sit and tell our personal life stories and those we find intriguing from the bible as it comes throughout the conversation.

Be effective in starting a friendly conversation grabbing the crowd, individual, group etc. attention. We should be radical when we tell the story concerning the Gospel and excite those we are trying to persuade. We can look throughout scripture and see just how Jesus would teach and his teaching was new and refreshing to the point that people would marvel at how articulate and well-studied he was concerning scriptures and himself. He understood the true meaning of the scriptures and he knew how loving and gracious God the Father is. Be effective in that:

  • We hook the audience, person, crowd, etc. from the beginning
  • Tell the story adding along rhetorical questions to keep the person or persons engaged, but also giving the answer based off of your main point or idea and you may want to include some funny stories or analogies along the way depending on the nature of the story.
  • We should always reflect ensuring that the point was received by the audience. This way we know that the information exchanged was of value and with prayer it persuading and completed the task.

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