Explore
Follow Us

5 Keys to powerful story telling

A friend who lives in one of the most dangerous countries in the world – a place where if they know you are a Christian, they kill you – just wrote me an email about the power of stories: For the last month here in this country, I have sat several hours with my friends, both believers and n…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

A friend who lives in one of the most dangerous countries in the world – a place where if they know you are a Christian, they kill you – just wrote me an email about the power of stories:

For the last month here in this country, I have sat several hours with my friends, both believers and non believers – everyone is eager to hear stories.

When I tell my story to one of my most fundamentalist friends, I know that in a split second she could turn against  me and hurt me. But when I tell stories with Kingdom principles, instead the Spirit of God touches her heart and she has unspeakable peace.

Good stories are like a memorable song. They stick with you and can move you. And in that sense, they are magical. The story of Jesus's birth is one we never tire of at Christmas. His parents away from home in a foreign town, taking shelter in animal barn. No hospital or doctor. Did they do a variation of Lamaze breathing? Angels, shepherds, kings. And after all that, life on the run to protect the new baby.

In my years of sharing life with people, I've learned about the power stories have to change lives and set people free.

The enemy of our souls hates this and has strategies to keep us from a life where are stories make sense as we share them. The sad thing is, we've lost our campfires, our stories, and the capacity to tell them. We settle for Youtube moments, Facebook updates and tweets. Our lives pass as a series of unconnected ephemera.

To live the life God designed us for, we need to live better stories and we need to relearn the art of telling them.

5 keys
Here are five keys to powerful story telling:

1.    We have one. We all have a story. Most of our stories involve personal pain and God’s intervention.

2.    Secrets. Most of us have secrets that keep the real story from being told. Often our pain is unprocessed, so we keep the secrets locked away,

3.    Shame. Shame is the doorkeeper of our secrets. We break the power of shame by telling the truth about our secrets. Only the whole truth has power.

4.    Keep it personal. When we share, we should share only our personal story, not sermonizing or diluting it with commentary. We should share it in the first person: “I.”

5.    No advice. The response to the story is as important as the story. As listeners, we shouldn't critique or give advice. The proper response to a story is: “Thank you.” 

Knowing the power of stories, understanding that time adds new pieces to our story, we do well to apply these  principles as we share life with one another.

When was the last time you shared your story in a way that revealed your heart? How did it impact your listeners?

Comments (6)

  • Truly insightful; thank you for pointing out and reminding me of what the ‘bars’ look like and the power of truth.

  • Great post. Everyone has a story and someone needs to hear it and be encouraged by it! We never know when God will choose to use our willingness to share to help someone else.

  • Sadly Seth most people I have known are not interested or equipped to really hear our story because they are too busy formulating their own or offering advice, triangulating relationships or shooting judgements out like an out of control water cannon.

    That is why I prefer a few trustworthy people and solitude.

    Hope you are well.

  • Really enjoyed this blog post, Seth. It’s been an awesome few months of getting to share the story of what I’ve seen God do in my life over the past few months and encouraging others to share their stories. Hope you and the adventures family in Gainesville are doing so well!

  • Glad to hear it, Heidi.

    We are doing well here. Everyone has been enjoying “Spirit Week.” Today its “Tacky Xmas Sweater Day. You can see our gaudy display on FB.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy