While reading Wayne's ekklesia I have also been working my way through an incredibly insightful book entitled "The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission For the 21st Century Church" by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch. There is so much good content in this book that I find myself reading and rereading chapters over and over.
One chapter in particular deals with ways we can engage the lost. Since I consider myself a life-long student of evangelism and church planting, their words have really impacted me and got the old brain to thinking about these things. Their first of five suggestions for engaging the lost is storytelling.
Excite curiosity Through Storytelling. In our attempts to make the gospel clear, we have often squeezed all the life out of it. Jesus parables were intriguing, open to interpretation, playful, interesting. They provoked people to search further for the truth. Parables, stories, will be more likely to excite curiosity than propositionally presented outlines of the gospel."
Second...use Bible stories. This might sound like the ultimate conversation stopper, but at the right time and place, within the context of an established relationship, the retelling of an ancient biblical story can evoke a great deal of curiosity.
Third...use personal stories. Stories are events in a life. Telling stories demands personal honesty, accepting our weaknesses as well as our strengths. It is only when we reveal ourselves as weak and vulnerable that others will readily identify with us and be able to hear the invitation to join us in following Jesus.
John Drane says that if you think of the three kinds of stories as three overlapping circles, their point of intersection, where God's story, our story, and the biblical stories overlap, is where effective evangelism takes place.
Wow, and that is just the first of Hirsch/Frost's evangelism suggestions!
What has been your own experience with storytelling as it relates to sharing the Gospel?