One chapter in particular deals with ways we can engage not-yet believers. Since I consider myself a life-long student of evangelism and church planting, their words have me rethinking these matters.
The 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.While we have always promoted the use of "personal stories" and testimonies in our evangelism, I am convinced we should be putting a lot more effort into this kind of sharing. Nearly everyone loves a good story. The most intriguing are those "real life" stories that intersect with our own journey and experience. Hearing each others stories seems to be an excellent way to share the greatest story of all.
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.
What has been your own experience with storytelling as it relates to sharing the Gospel?