Do you remember your favorite book as a child? There were probably a few lovable characters, a memorable storyline, and a lesson to learn that made you choose that story time and time again. Storytelling is a great way to entertain and teach…and it works for all ages!
While I’m not suggesting for you to dust off your old childhood favorites for your next sermon, I am inviting you to get a little creative…with your own stories! Think back over your life and select 3-5 memories where you learned a very important lesson. Did you have a wonderful day of fly-fishing with your grandfather? What about a camping trip with friends? Did your first love break your heart and your spirit, yet leave you with a valuable lesson about communication? Maybe you and your wife stayed up all night long with your first child, exhausted but too excited to sleep. Think about some of the most teachable moments in your life and then share that story.
In any kind of writing—whether books, blogs, movies, or sermons—you need a few main ingredients to captivate your audience. You need a great story. You need to be able to set the stage, share the excitement, and paint the mental picture using details. You also need a fair amount of transparency.
Every superhero has a flaw or a checkered past that helped them rise to greatness while earning the admiration of those around them. Every professional speaker has a selection of entertaining (maybe also awkward, funny, or embarrassing) stories about themselves that help the audience relate to them while providing a transfer of knowledge. Likewise, you can both entertain and educate your church by sharing some of your own life lessons!
Don’t be afraid to invite laughter. And don’t be afraid to show emotion. Whatever the story—happy or sad, scary or exhilarating—let your audience experience it with you. As you share your heartfelt journey, allow them to internalize the situation and link it to a similar situation they may have experienced as well. Sometimes the most powerful stories we tell are those that show how we got it wrong the first time, but learned a lesson and grew to be more gracious, more loving, more humble, or more appreciative because of it.