The Power of Story Telling, as Evangelism
I had a grandfather who loved to share a good yarn. When visiting, I would watch TV with Grandpa Jack and his story telling would often be triggered by something he was viewing. They were colourful stories of his past experiences and acquaintances, mostly relating to the times he served in the Australian Navy in WW2. Clearly through them, I got to know more about Jack and his life, although I wondered if some of them got more embellished with the passing of time!
Most of us love a good story! When someone shares with us a story from their life, we find it easier to connect with them, understand them and find some common ground.
This is why sharing our story(s) of life experiences, can be a powerful way of connecting with people. It tells them who and what we value and believe in. This is the case in most cultures and is no different in ours.
Not surprising that God uses the power of story in the scriptures to reveal his character and redemptive purposes and that Jesus used parables to convey gospel truths!
In fact, the Bible instructs us to do the same: “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story!” – Psalm 107:2
We might think we don’t have a story, one worth sharing. Yet God has been writing His story lines in our lives over years. Even the dark and challenging chapters, present an opportunity to share His rescuing power and sustaining grace.
The apostle Paul identified how the Corinthian believers (who had their challenging moments!) witnessed to the story of Christ in their lives:
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3-4)
Our Christian lives can be a witness, however Isaiah 107:2 reminds us to give words to the testimony of our lives.
For many of us, proclaiming the gospel is a real struggle and we’re just not sure how to go about it!
That’s where sharing a story of how God has been at work in our lives, can be an empowering and relational way to share our faith. With some thought and preparedness on how we go about this, our stories of putting faith and trust in God for situations, can have a natural flow into everyday conversations. People will have the respect to listen to your story.
Our God story(s) will connect with someone. Someone who is going through similar experiences. They need to hear our story, His story!
And the Spirit deliberately orchestrates these encounters with people who have been prepared ahead of time to hear God’s storylines through us. God’s prevenient grace at work! We see the Spirit doing that in the Book of Acts, for example when Philip was brought to the travelling Ethiopian Eunuch. (Acts 8:26-40)
Our God stories can broadly fall in to two areas: Our ‘Salvation story,’ which we often refer to as ‘our Testimony.’ Then what we might classify as our ‘Faith stories.’
Our Faith stories we sometimes overlook or downplay. They can be as simple as one’s story of a need and receiving a special answer to prayer. That’s a miracle moment! It could be the reassurance God gave us when doubting our performance as a parent. Or could be the strength we were given to navigate testing times, or how Jesus helped to heal a relationship or illness.
There is no limit to the storylines of faith and hope God outworks in people’s lives. Topics which can arise and be relevant to a friend in conversation at a Café, or in any other social settings.
What are those God stories in your life? Ask the Spirit to remind you and for both the opportunities and words to share them. Write down your story(s) so you can always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15)
Let’s not allow our God stories to be just kept for ourselves. “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story!” (Psalm 107:2)