In his fine book Reimagining Evangelism, Prof. Rick Richardson of Wheaton College and the Billy Graham Center reminds us of the power of story:
“Jesus taught truth by telling stories and his stories still reverberate in our souls centuries later: the prodigal son, the sower, the parables of the kingdom. Jesus knew how to lodge truth not just in our heads but also deeply in our hearts and imaginations. Only stories can speak to all those levels . . .” (p85).
As a campus “apologist” for InterVarsity, most of my dialog with students and faculty is built around case-making — that is, providing sound reasons to believe in Christianity.
At Hamline University, for example, an atheist student recently asked me straight-up: “Why are you a Christian?”
Case-making ensued: origins, design, the historical case for Jesus . . .
And yet, as I’ve interviewed people around the country for my upcoming book, Faith Unexpected (Feb 2018), I’ve been brought back to the power of story time and again.
Stories shape our lives — just like Rick Richardson said.
And just like Jesus modeled.
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Challenge: Write out your own story of faith. Practice telling it in increments:
- The one-minute version.
- The five-minute version.
- The twenty-minute version.
Now tell it to a friend.