Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His name. Romans 1:5 (NLT)
How do you tell a story?
We can more easily connect and identify with others through the telling of personal stories. People generally seem to love a good story and will give attention more readily when they hear one. There is actual research conducted in the ways we respond to stories. Paul Zak, Director of Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, conducted research on how stories change the brain. The results showed that stories that are more personal and emotionally compelling, engage more of the brain and are better remembered than simply stating the facts. An effective story captures and holds our attention and then transports us into the world of the storyteller. This helps the listener identify with the characters and can make us more empathetic and generous as we see things from the character’s point of view, experiencing their emotions.
A Story is to be Told with Conviction and Responsibility
How a story is told is an important part of the storytelling process and determines the effectiveness, it has on the listener. A story must be believable and if the story is told with conviction by the storyteller, it can become the platform for teaching and sharing with others. Peter Cartwright, a Methodist evangelist, known for his uncompromising preaching was to deliver a sermon to which the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, was attending. The elders of the church warned the pastor not to offend the President. Content that the pastor would not discredit their church, the elders retired to the sanctuary. When Cartwright got up to preach the first words that flowed from his mouth were, ”I understand that President Andrew Jackson is here this morning. I have been requested to be very guarded in my remarks. Let me say this: ”Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn’t repent of his sin!” The entire congregation gasped with shock at Cartwright’s boldness. They wondered how the President would respond. When President Jackson met the preacher at the door, he looked him in the eye and said, ”Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could conquer the world!” Believing what you say is one thing but being fully and completely convicted of what you say is a powerful and life-changing tool.
Storytelling or getting a message out can also be a responsibility. In George Sweeting’s book, The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing, he tells of a man by the name of John Currier, who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later Currier was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1968 Currier’s sentence was terminated and a letter was sent to him telling him the good news. Unfortunately, John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on the farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept on doing what he was told, even after the farmer who he worked for died. Ten years passed by and a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence was terminated. Currier was a free man.
This was an important message, one of the most important messages in John Currier’s life, yet he didn’t receive the message on time. Would it matter to you if an urgent message was never delivered? We, who know, ”The Story” and experience freedom everyday through Christ are responsible to tell our story about ”The Story” to others. It is our responsibility to make sure the messageÂ deliversÂ on time.
This week our focus verse speaks of the privilege we have in telling, ”The Story” through our story. God calls us all to be a witness for Christ and to speak of the changes in our life that Christ creates. When we tell our story about ”The Story”, we bring glory to God’s name. Through our words and actions, others have the great opportunity to see and experience how God can work within their lives. We all have stories that can be shared with others, helping believers and unbelievers alike see what God is doing, and how He works within our lives.
The goodness of God is not for us to keep hidden, but is our privilege and responsibility through our own conviction to share Christ with others.
8 Effective Ways to Tell Your Story about ”The Story”
The Apostle Paul, clearly tells us that we are to go out and share how Christ works within our life through our words and actions. We should not hesitate to share as it is our privilege and responsibility to do just that. Matthew Kelly, author of the Mass Journal, points out that it is impossible to experience God and not want others to experience him as a result. So why do we hesitate? What are we afraid of? Maybe we are thinking about it too hard and making it too complicated. We must remember that we are simply glorifying God, when we share Him with others.
There is little doubt that through the art of telling your own ”Christ” story or stories that you can reach believers and unbelievers alike, through an emotional connection. Here are 8 tips to help you with telling your story about ”The Story” to share the word of Christ with others and glorify the name of God.
- Keep it simple ”“ Your story about ”The Story”, does not need to be complex or complicated. There are no rules, the effective story structure should be simple. Telling people what Christ means to you and how this relationship affects your life is what is important.
- Why are you telling ”The Story”? – Your message should give the reason you want to share your story about ”The Story”. Your story should provide a clear take away for the listener. Help your listener be able to take what they have heard and use it in their own life.
- Trim to the basics ”“ Too many details will overwhelm people, especially if they are wary of ”The Story” to begin with. If your story contains too many details the reason you are sharing the story will backfire and people will tune you out or look for ways to escape. You have to give enough details for ”The Story” to be understood, so work on a good balance.
- Use dialogue to tell or write your storyÂ – Telling your story by using actual words spoken by Jesus is very important and it gives a solid credential. Don’t just tell the story from the third person viewpoint. Be sure to tell exactly what the people in the story said, as it makes the story more vivid and full of life.
- Use multiple media forms to tell your story about ”The Story” –This is currently called transmedia storytelling. It simply means sharing your story on social media and other sites. This will allow you to reach many people while also keeping your story about ”The Story” simple and concise. This platform can reach strong emotional heights so be prepared for viral connections.
- Practice your Skills ”“ Think about what you are going to say, how you want to say it, and then just do it. If you are speaking from the heart, the listener will excuse any blunders you may make. Keep telling your story about ”The Story” as your skills will improve along with your confidence.
- Carefully collect stories from your life that relate to ”The Story” ”“ A daily reflection time is a good way to see how God is working in your life and other’s. Consider these events and structure stories to share that will expand your purpose and let others know why you want to share ”The Story”.
- Use your story to tell ”The Story” ”“ The stories that have the greatest impact are the personal ones that give the emotional truth. If telling your own story be sure to speak in your voice, with words you would normally use. Do not attempt to use jargon or exaggerated language that would not be part of your normal life.
Take the challenge of telling your story, to glorify the God that created you, openly sharing and not worrying about how others will receive it. Â One night, the famous evangelist, Dwight Moody, had a man come up to him after his sermon and say, ”I don’t like your invitation. I don’t think it’s the right way to do it.” Mr. Moody responded, ”I appreciate that, I’ve always been uncomfortable with it, too. I wish I knew a better way. What is your method of inviting people to Christ?” ”I don’t have one,” the man replied. ”Then I like mine better,” the evangelist said.
God calls us all by His grace, no matter our limitations. The strong conviction of responsibility for sharing what you know, should take a front row seat in the theater of life, and must motivate you to help others experience the greatness of God.
Love in Christ,
Howard Hendricks said, ”In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering.” Â – So maybe it is time we get our story together and stutter no more.
Credits Martinuzzi, B. (2014, August 7). Open Forum. Retrieved from American Express: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/11-powerful-ways-to-tell-your-story/ RBC Ministries. (1994, November 6). Our Daily Bread. Grand Rapids, MI, US: Zak, P. J. (2013, December 17). Greater Good The Science of a Meaningful Life Mind and Body. Retrieved from Greater Good Science Center: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_stories_change_brain
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you have a difficult time telling your story about ”The Story”? Have you found yourself hesitating to let others know how God works clearly in your life? Join us in discussion on sharing your story about ”The Story” with others.