Let me tell you a story.
Those six words are some of the most inviting and compelling words we know. They are an offering … an outstretched hand that encourages us to embark on an untold journey.
What that journey entails? We won’t know until we accept the invitation.
Story is one of the most powerful devices we have available. From the beginning, God used story to communicate who He is, who we are and how we are to live—profound concepts that are easier to comprehend in the context of story.
Jesus used the power of story through His parables, demonstrating eternal truths and the depth of His love, mercy and forgiveness.
This is a persuasive example of how transforming story can be—in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
This should encourage us not to forget the power of story when communicating the Gospel—even amidst an ever-changing world. For years, Christians have lamented the lack of biblical understanding among Americans. Some 50 or 100 years ago, you could mention David, Moses and Noah, and most people would have at least a basic understanding of who they were.
Today, that certainly isn’t the case.
Instead of lamenting the loss of biblical understanding, we should respond by eagerly telling the stories behind these—and other—biblical characters. And the story of Jesus, the Gospel, and the transforming work of the cross.
For listeners, it’ll be like opening the pages of a new book, discovering the beauty, intricacies and the transforming nature of the Gospel.
Here are three examples of how you can incorporate the power of story into your life:
1. Be willing to share your story about what Christ means to you. You don’t have to preface it by saying, “This is how I came to Christ,” or “This is how I accepted Jesus as my Savior.” When appropriate, consider saying something like, “Let me tell you a story of how I got through this rough patch in my life,” or “Here’s how I finally made sense of my life.”
Overtly religious language will turn off some people, but most people love to hear a story. It’s an opening—and one that can make a huge impact.
2. Be open to telling stories about biblical characters. While many people might not know the main biblical stories, that doesn’t mean these stories are any less powerful. Someone might not know who Noah or Jonah are, but their stories are still compelling.
Consider: “We all think leaders are born. Everyone knows from an early age that someone is destined for great things. But let me tell you a story about a guy who rose to leadership who no one expected—especially himself.”
3. Never underestimate the power of other people’s stories. Be willing to listen. Be encouraging. And if appropriate, affirm something in their story with a biblical character, a trait, a parable or an example of Jesus’ love.
Being willing to listen to another person’s story demonstrates your love and care for who they are. And by listening—and offering appropriate feedback—you also demonstrate Jesus’ love. You’re participating with them in a story you both get to write.
The next time someone gives you an opening to talk about Jesus, consider responding, “Let me tell you a story.”
You just may be surprised how eager they are to hear it!