Stories: Communicating like Jesus

by Dr. Don Bray, Wesleyan World Missions

Stories:

Are told for the audience, not the teller.

Are told for a purpose, not for the telling.

Are told with economy of detail.

Are told with quality:

Are interesting, establishing a common ground with listeners.

Have an emotional quality: funny, sad, startling, gripping.

Include a hook to help pull listeners in.

Are true with a sense of reality.

Characteristics of Mission Stories:

Show accuracy

Demonstrate respect: imagine a national from your field in the audience

Reflect sensitivity to the culture

Have been examined for racist language, strange names or generalizations that create inadequate images

Develop ways for the audience to identify with characters or situation in story

Have a specific purpose in mind and are edited to achieve that purpose

The Story File:

A story file helps you to prepare for every unexpected speaking situation.

Create a list of all the stories you can remember from your missionary service. Spend time quietly before the Lord asking Him to help you remember large and small events.

Record each story as a separate document and sketch out the details and facts as you can remember them. Then identify the lesson(s) or point(s) to be made from that story. Find a scriptural concept that goes with the story. Finally, establish a title for the story.

Put the title and the scripture verse at the top of a new document (or in the upper left hand corner of a 5′ x 7′ card.) Write the concise, edited version of the story, and on the bottom put the lesson(s) and point(s) that need to be made. Keep the story within five minutes.

After you have a collection of such stories, begin to categorize them by: GP-general purpose, C-children, Y-youth, W-women, M-men, FN-funny, and any other category you might want. For example, I have an FD or food category for stories to tell at meals.

A further way of categorizing these stories is to develop sequences; for example, knowing what four stories go together in what order for a twenty minute youth service.