In a recent conversation with a brilliant leader at a large company, the leader expressed that very few people in the organization understand the value of what his department does – even though his department is crucial to the organization. In summary, this department implements and supports business systems for the entire company with a focus on financial as well as sales systems. He could easily rattle off figures as to how many hours the team worked, the late nights, the number of solutions implemented, and so on.
The aforementioned description might have given you an idea as to what this department does, but the description basically consisted of some facts that few people can relate to, and even if you can relate, you really don’t have a reason to care. I believe that we cannot really relate to these bland facts because we don’t know the story. Further, I believe that the reason we relate to stories is that is how God designed our minds and souls; to relate to stories.
Think about the Bible. It is a series of stories. Hundreds of them, all woven together as part of one big story; God’s story, our story. Our maker, our designer, chose to relate to us through stories.
Today’s reading: Mark 4
With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots. (Mark 4:33-34; MSG)
Jesus, being the son of God knew how to reach the minds and hearts of the people, and therefore did not speak to his disciples without a story.
I did a little research this week on storytelling and wanted to share some of the secret sauce. Think about your own story and how you will use that story to win lost souls for Jesus.
- The story must be the right story. Meaning, even a compelling and well crafted story won’t hit the mark unless it is the right story for the situation.
- If you’re presenting the story as truth, it must actually be true; it must be authentic, and don’t omit crucial detail. Credibility is everything.
- Share the positive stories. Hollywood knows that every story must have a happy ending. It has been proven that when people hear a positive story with a happy ending, the brain emits dopamine which produces a mild sense of euphoria, a good feeling.
- Tell the story in a minimalist fashion. Don’t leave the listener stranded or distracted. For example if you’re describing the glorious gift of a beautiful sunrise, don’t distract the listener by talking about how on the same morning the stock market was up by 100 points.
- If the idea in the story becomes the listener’s idea, that’s when they become champions of the idea. Consider which one of these is more effective: “repent or you’ll burn in Hell” or “I used to be a lying, cheating, backstabbing wretch, but when I realized the impact of my sin and how much God loves me, how could I not repent and give my all for Him?”. One of these was a mandate, the other was meant to inspire and lead the listener to choose their own action. In my 45 years of life on this planet, I cannot ever recall finding joy in any situation where “mandate” was used.
- Contrast the before and after. I once was lost, but now I’m found. A simple phrase, but I believe “Amazing Grace” is one of the most widely recognized hymns of all time. Pretty tough to keep the tears in when we recognize the truth and contrast in this song.
In closing, I challenge our readers to write out your salvation story and consider the six principles above. Practice the story and share your before and after with someone who would benefit from knowing the saving, loving, amazing grace of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.
-The photo is of a painting named "The Storyteller" by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo