Wednesday, June 7

Engaging not-yet believers

Ekklesia is a blog I read nearly everyday. Recently Wayne has posted a series of "Gospel Presentation" posts. Each of these seeks to share an aspect of how to present the Gospel.

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?

10 comments:

Manuel said...

Guy,

One of the things I have noticed as a preacher who enjoys both preaching and listening to sermons is that what people remember the most are the illustrations.

As you know illustrations are nothing more than stories and this is what people listen to the most because they identify with them and even children enjoy them a lot more than our hermenutical and homiletical expositions!

Stories are a wonderful tool to reach people they just have to be true and said in the context that people can identify with them and understand their application their daily living out of the Word.

People will remember a simple story a lot longer than all the points in our well prepared sermons. Why? Because people enjoy a good story! So let us work at being better story tellers of the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Manuel Sosa

GuyMuse said...

Hey amigo,

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the good word and you are exactly right. We need to find more outlets for our storytelling. What I find intriguing about the Frost/Hirsch concepts is that they are applying storytelling to evangelism.

BTW-your "Church Planting or Church Planners?" article turned into being one of my most read posts! Maybe its time you joined us in the blog world?!!?

Wayne said...

Guy,

Thanks for the link. You mentioned in your comments on my blog that you have a "tool box" of evangelism "methods." Love to get a peek into that tool box.

Many gospel presentations follow a "four point outline" approach. Some of the on-line stuff I plan to get to provides a more story-like approach.

It'll be interesting to see someone develop this story-telling in evangelism idea more. Not all are good at telling stories, but if you're going to tell one story well, the gospel is it.

GuyMuse said...

Wayne,

Alas our evangelism "tool box" is in Spanish, but you are welcome to look at it here.
The file is entitled "Ideas Para Evangelizar" and can be downloaded. Looking forward to reading more from you as well in the coming days.

Ken Sorrell said...

Guy,

First, when speaking with people who are reluctant to include narrative or stories as a normal part of their evangelism, I immdediately take them the Matthew 13:34; "All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, ( or stories ) and He did not speak to them without a parable." If Jesus thought it was important to be a storyteller in order to effectively communicate the Gospel message, what argument do we have not to do the same?

Second, I have hear Dr. Grant Lovejoy speak of how as he speaks to people he listens for anything that they say that will trigger a response by him that begins with, "You know, that reminds me of a story." He then shares a Bible story hoping to daisy-chain a series of stories into an evangelistic presentation. I really like this approach.

Ken Sorrell said...

Opps, I forgot to ask. In your quote from John Drane he says that there are 3 types of stories, God's Story, our Story, and Biblical Stories. Since I am not familiar with him or his work, what is the difference between God's Story and Biblical Stories?

Ross Garner said...

Hi Guy

First of all - congratulations to Ecuador for their 2-0 win yesterday!

I was just reflecting this morning how reading Frost and Hirsch a few months ago was significant in changing my perspective on the church. I will probably blog about this later.

The gist of it is this : Church as we know it can do Kingdom work but is unlikely to reach more than a few. If we want to see a large number of people brought to faith we need a different way of being church.

As for stories .. I had forgotten that Frost and hirsch said that but it must have sunk in. I have changed my preaching style in church recently. I am using stories and questions to try and stimulate people to think for themselves. I am hoping that some of our spiritually stationary people will begin to move forward again.

GuyMuse said...

Ken,

Good question! That's what happens when you edit too much of the original thoughts of the author!

"God's story" are those activities of God in the lives of people around us. Similar to Henry Blackaby's idea that God is at work around us and we need to join Him. How is God's truth expressed in a movie, a song, an act of kindness, etc. These constitute God's working in our world today.

Ross,

Always good to hear from you. I too am becoming more conscious of story telling in daily ministry. What I am hoping to come up with are some guidelines to teach our already very evangelistic people to be able to get away some from the formula-type Gospel presentations and do more with the storying. I think it will have a major impact on their sharing of the Gospel.

Anonymous said...

Guy:

Well..well..well I had to take the bait on this one! One of my personal goals is to learn THE story and never be without a story. I am not one to worship methodology but I am a full believer in Bible Storying.
Stephen B.

GuyMuse said...

Stephen B,

You could probably write the book on storying! Humbled to have someone of your experience make a comment on a subject you know I know little about! It does fascinate me what Drane writes about the point of intersection where God's story, our story, and the biblical stories overlap.

I have of course been familiar with CBS methodology (the biblical story) part, but what catches my interest is the use of God's story and our own stories as part of using stories to share the Gospel with not-yet believers.

Please feel free to share as much as you'd like on the subject--or even better yet, start your own storying blog to help educate the rest of us ignorant Ms out there!