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The Power of Storytelling

Published October 20, 2017

Consider THIS: Emily Gehman

The world’s first man and woman. A guy who built a huge boat. One man who would’ve sacrificed his son. Another who traded his birthright for a bowl of chili. A favorite son and his brothers who hated him. A baby left in a basket in the river. A fiery bush that didn’t burn. An entire nation that moved after some bizarre episodes. A sea split open to dry sand. A successor who defeated a fortressed city by walking around it. And a prostitute who converted.

And that’s just the first six books of the Bible. We haven’t even gotten to David and Goliath, David and Saul, David and Bathsheba (and that time he killed a guy), Jonah and the big fish, Daniel and some hungry lions, the three (four?) fireproof dudes or any of the New Testament characters. And some of them really were characters, if you know what I mean.

“Just Bible stories,” some say. And we could give all the theological explanations why these aren’t “just Bible stories.” But in the end, that’s exactly what they are. Stories.

Stories of God showing up for His people time and time again. He loved them. He provided for them. He disciplined them. He rescued them. He promised a Messiah in the Old Testament and then gave Jesus in the New Testament. The Bible is filled with stories of people being people and God being God.

And that’s what our churches are filled with, too. It’s time to start telling them.

Storytelling is a game-changer for the Church in two ways: community and evangelism.

Community

When we’re honest about our stories, we build authentic community in the Body of Christ because stories push us to grace in a way content does not. They allow us to say “Me, too; here’s my story.” Or “I know you better now.” We can go beyond comments about the weather or the football game and build friendships, share the stories of God at work and be in each others’ stories—just like the Body of Christ was designed for.

Evangelism

Gone are the days of big-tent revivals, street-corner preachers and handing out tracts. Of course, God can still use those means to bring people to Himself. But in today’s culture, where people so easily say, “that’s good for you, but not for me,” a story can go where a tract cannot. Nobody can argue with your story. Share your story; share your life; share your Jesus.

We cannot stop preaching the content of God’s Word; it gives us everything we need for life and godliness. But we cannot stop telling our own stories—the ones of us being us and God being God.

What’s Your Story?

At AUTHENTIK Magazine and AUTHENTIK.city, we’re harnessing the power of storytelling. And as a storytelling coach, I help people share their stories however Jesus leads them to. Join the movement! Stop believing the lie that you don’t have a story, and start sharing yours.

Emily Gehman (’12) majored in Counseling and went on to earn her Master of Arts in English from the University of Michigan. She’s now a storytelling coach and online managing editor for AUTHENTIK Magazine at Shattered Media in Lapeer, Michigan. She has eight nieces and nephews and enjoys coaching Special Olympics, running, biking, reading, hammock-ing and drinking coffee.

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