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PRAYContext Over the past several years, I found myself in some unique positions where I needed to learn how to tell my story effectively.Personally, Ive had the opportunity to share in prisons to groups of about 150 inmates.Professionally, we did some innovative things with technology and I found myself on the speaking circuit with many interviews in magazines, etc.
This is a very practical, almost academic discussion on ways to approach sharing your story. Take notes.
Telling your story is all about reflecting what Christ has done and is doing in our world, our community and in our lives. Its about letting our lights shine.
In such a way.
We are living stories, evidence of the grace of God. We are living examples of lives engaging the God that created us.Let your light shine in such a way. There is some latitude in how we communicate that, as long as the purpose is to glorify God. We have the best stories. Stories that matter. Those engaging the God who created them should have the best stories. Stories of hope, redemption, healing, forgiveness. We can elevate the dialogue with stories that can really help and inspire others.But how do we learn to effectively communicate these things?
Sometimes we have to use words but now we can use different mediums to reach people..
The ProblemTechnology brings us many opportunities yet many challenges when it comes to communicating what God is doing in our lives.Today, we have many ways to share. More than ever. We have more formats and technologies in which to share.Blogging, self publishing, video, short form like
Were creating and consuming more content than ever. And our attention spans are shorter, we filter out that which has no value.Even if you are not online, others you interact with are. Were all competing for time whether or not you The good news is that good stories have never travelled faster and farther.Our world needs good stories. We're inundated however by noise, marketing messages disguised as news. 3
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Attention spans are shrinking. We have more noise and less time. We create, share and consume information faster than ever.How do we break through and really connect with people?Society, the business world and the media is rediscovering and learning the value of stories.
What does this result in?
Too. Much. Noise.Allow me to provide some recent examples found within my own social networking feed. 5
Theres a name for this kind of approach.7Link Bait.They want clicks because then they get views so they can show you ads. Thats how they get paid.
Create sensational content, get attention and get paid.8How would the modern media cover biblical events as they happened?9
What would the headline read for John the Baptist for example?
the press release would read: Sasquatch turns preacher.But people would read that. They would click on it. We don't need to sensationalize things in order to connect but we do need to learn how to effectively communicate what God has accomplished in our lives. We don't need National Inquirer Christians, we need real, life changing stories that have substance and provide hope to a broken world.How do we compete with these kinds of tactics? How do we get our stories heard without resorting to this?
Why stories?In the church we call them testimonies, we use terms like evangelism and witnessing. In the past we've had developed comprehensive programs to help us craft our message and provide us an outline with conversation starters. Why do we do this?-We want to influence others because of what we have experienced and we want others to experience the grace, the joy, the fulfilling love and peace. -The great commission says to go and tell. -We are told to share as witnesses to what God has done in our lives.12StoriesDisarmPeople
Stories disarm people. When you bring someone into the context of your life, there is room for understanding and compassion. We make fewer assumptions. We appreciate If you have permission to tell your story, you have the opportunity to share your experience, your journey.
It works both ways. I like this quote from Abraham Lincoln.
Dont like someone? Ask them: Whats your story?Listen to them
Great influencers know how to ask great questions.
Great storytellers are great listeners. Listening opens the door to the opportunity to tell your story.
Stories connect emotionally.Stories that have the potential to connect and inspire because we can relate as humans. Because we all have the same root problem. Our sin separates us from the God that created us.The most powerful tool you have to impact the lives of others is what you went through. The hurt, pain and heartache, disfunction, abuse and addiction. God will use your story to touch others. Your story will touch people in different ways. God can use that story to bring glory to himself.God chases hearts. But he has no problem engaging your mind. The order is typically heart then mind.Our stories will connect with those who have open hearts.This is why rational justification alone is inadequate. Emotional connection is required. Reinforced by the rational, not driven.
JesusToldStoriesJesus told storiesJesus showed us how to effectively use stories to communicate concepts that people would remember. Parables and illustrations that would help us understand important concepts.
Lets see if you can identify these examples.16
JesusToldStoriesWhat is it about stories that make them effective?
Stories move information from short-term memory to long-term memory.Putting information into a story format engages our imagination and it moves into long-term memory.
Turn to John Chapter 9
Im going to cover 3 elements of a good story.20
1. Good stories have structure.We need to consider a framework for our content. We need to package it in a way that we canprocess it. This is the classic structure of a story that you see used everywhere.
Lets read in John 9 and see if we can identify these 3 things:
The ChallengeThe StruggleThe Resolution
21The Challengeor Conflict
A. The challenge or conflict. The problem.The premise of our story.What happens in the first 2 minutes of a police drama?What is the one thing all human beings have in common?We are all separated from God. This is the story of the ages. The big picture.The problem we all share.22John 9:1As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.The Challengeor Conflict
John 9. As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. Theres a problem.There is an element of suspense. What will happen next?
Illustration: One aspect of my story: My father spent most of my teenage years in prison.For most of my teenage years my father was in prison.The fact that he was in prison tells you something about his character.How did you get from there to here?Application: Are you able to identify your challenge? Beyond the core problem we all share, what was your conflict, your brokenness?
23The Struggleor Process
B. The struggleCould also be considered the process or the journey.
24John 9:6-7The Struggleor ProcessHe spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which is translated, Sent).
Illustration: He missed many things. Things I thought he needed to be there for. But God knew there would be another time. A more important event, my time of greatest need and God would use my dad at the most critical point of my life.
C. The resolutionHow was the problem or conflict solved?
We need closure.
26John 9:7The ResolutionSo he went away and washed, and came back seeing.
John 9. (Read) His healing was the resolution. Jesus was the answer to his blindness. Restoration is a good resolution.
Illustration: My father came to Christ..Application: Whats the resolution to your problem? Are you able to articulate it?God's solution to the greatest conflict of all time is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He took our place. We put our trust in Him. We cast all our burdens, brokenness and shame on Him. Problem solved. John 3:16.It is simple which leads me to my next point.
2. Good stories are simple.John 9 the man told his story 3 times.Review story2810 So they were saying to him, How then were your eyes opened? 11 He answered, The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, Go to Siloam and wash; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.31 Words
Story #1.Audience: Neighbors V 10 The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, Go to Siloam and wash; so I went away and washed, and I received sight 31 Words
2910 So they were saying to him, How then were your eyes opened? 11 He answered, The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, Go to Siloam and wash; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.31 Words
Who (Jesus)What (Healing)WhenWhere (Siloam)Why How (Applied Clay)He mentions the who (Jesus), where (Siloam) what (healing) and how (applied clay)
3015 Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.12 Words
Story #2.The audience was concerned about rules. Perhaps the Pharisees were so clouded with all the rules they had made up, V15 Then the Pharisees