Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Storytelling Experiment

Since the beginning of 2008, I find myself continually being prompted by the Spirit to work on improving my Biblical and testimonial storytelling skills as it relates to evangelism in my life. As I intentionally pursue an increase in relationships with women who don't know the Lord Jesus, I sometimes feel overwhelmed or intimidated or just plain clueless about HOW to share and WHAT to share with them. I read my Bible every day, teach in the Get Trained Ministry, am a pastor's wife, and yet somehow I still get tripped up by the enemy as he lurks to intimidate my outreach. What I realized is many of us know the Bible, but have a hard time recounting it in SIMPLE story form to someone who is unfamiliar with it. We know what God is doing in our life, but would be hard-pressed to explain it in non-churchy terms to a nonbeliever. This was something I began longing to work on.

The more I prayed about how to do this, God kept encouraging me not to go it alone. I sensed that this was a growing theme in some of the women's lives that I know. For us to set out to figure this out together would be even more fruitful. So tonight, our little Storytelling Experiment began. There are seven of us that are gonna meet every week for the next several months to begin figuring out this concept together. Every week we will each learn a new Bible story, practice telling it during our group time, then go out and and share it with someone outside the group each week... all with the goal of firming up this skill so that we will have an entire repertoire of stories ready to go when an opportunity presents itself in everday conversation.

Why stories, you might ask? Because STORIES are memorable, STORIES have power. Shane Claiborne writes in Irresistible Revolution: "Few things have more transformative power than people and stories." Not just that, but 4 billion people in this world cannot read well (if at all). Even in the U.S.-- where education is free and school attendance is compulsory-- 3 out of 7 adults have either Basic or Below-Basic literacy skills. That's almost half, folks! Plus, recent studies note that even people who are literate in the world today would much rather gather with friends to swap stories than to read alone, in silent isolation. Many people who can read quite well would rather watch a movie or TV show or talk on the telephone than read a book or magazine. (information from http://www.chronologicalbiblestorying.com/). Besides people's growing preference, stories are also disarming. Many people who may not come to hear a sermon or go to a Bible study will listen to a story. They aren't as confrontational, so you can tell them to people who would not otherwise discuss spiritual topics.

But perhaps the most compelling reason to learn to STORYTELL the Bible is because God thought storytelling was a great idea... The Bible, itself is basically one large story, made up of many smaller stories. And Jesus, Himself, used stories throughout His life of ministry... someone would ask Him a question and He'd tell a story to give the answer... when the crowds gathered around Him, He used stories to illustrate His points.

I want to know the Bible in such a way that the stories just fall off my tongue all the time! As this experiment unfolds this semester, I promise to post some of the stories I learn to tell. I hope they teach you about God and His heart for you. And I hope that you will turn around and tell God's story to someone in your life who needs to hear about the hope that is found in Christ!

1 comment:

Anna Melvin said...

by the way, that random picture is a old-school felt board/flannel board story of the book of Jonah... I added it just for the theme of storytelling-- not at all to imply we will be using felt boards in our experiment! :)