I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of story. A few weeks ago, I was reading through Mark, and the word “story” kept jumping off the page.
“He taught by using stories, many stories.” Mark 4:2
“He was never without a story when he spoke.” Mark 4:34
When we read the Gospels, it’s pretty clear that Jesus was a big fan of stories. I believe He told stories because He realized that people learn better that way. It’s much easier to convey complex truths using story than it is to simply try to explain it. The best preachers I know use a lot of stories as well. Stories keep the audience engaged, and can powerfully illustrate the point.
Some argue that stories water down the message and cheapen the Gospel. I don’t think that has to be the case. Certainly, one could water down the Gospel using stories, but one doesn’t have to. They are not mutually exclusive And as a communicator, don’t you want your audience to stay engaged?
Now don’t worry, this hasn’t become Sermon Weekly. There is an application for us as Technical Artists. Many TDs I know have the opportunity to speak into the weekend service process. Are we using that opportunity to promote story? Can we clearly define the story we want to tell during a weekend service? How can we further the telling of story using the technology that we are masters of?
If we have the opportunity to help develop the telling of stories to advance the message of the Gospel, why wouldn’t we do that? Learning to tell a story is a crucial communications skill. But let’s make it more personal than that.
Vision Through Story
How about casting vision with your teams? Do you use story to help your volunteer and staff teams get the why behind the how every week? How can you use story to continually reinforce the vision of what you’re doing?
We know that generally people don’t like to be lectured. We also know that millennials like to know what works. So why not use stories. When you hear a story about someone in your congregation whose life was changed due to the ministry of the church, do you relate that story to your team? What better motivator is there than being part of changing lives?
Notice how Jesus communicates very esoteric concepts like, oh, Heaven, to the people he spoke with. “The Kingdom of heaven is like…” And on He went with a story. Try explaining concepts like direct versus reverberant sound fields to a financial guy. If you go all technical with him, his eyes will glaze over and he will check out halfway through your very detailed (though probably accurate) description.
But comparing sound to water being sprayed from a hose is another matter. Imagine spraying a stream of water at a wall; what’s going to happen? Water will go everywhere. Spray enough water at the walls and everyone in the room will get sprinkled, but no one will get wet directly. However, consider how much more efficient it is to spray water right at the people. Suddenly a complex subject is easily visualized.
Everyone has sprayed water onto a hard surface and seen what happens. Not everyone can visualize how sound waves interact with a room.
The use of story has so many implications. When you’re trying to communicate with someone, remember that. I figure it this way; Jesus was God Himself and He had to use stories. Why would I not do the same?