Story Part 1: Jesus Used Stories. So Should We.

Rick Mattson Apologetics 4 Comments

In his fine book Reimagining EvangelismProf. 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.

* * *

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.

Next post: Robert Alter tells us how to read the biblical story.

Comments 4

  1. Neither of my parents were raised in Christian homes but God brought both of them into environments where they were exposed to the gospel and wanted to go to a Christian College and ended up at Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis where they met and I was born into a Christian home. My mother lead me to Jesus at age nine. I realized that God has his hand on our lives right from the beginning. Sharon Conrad

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      Sharon, thanks for sharing that story of faith. It’s amazing how it happens in so many different ways. The variety of stories I heard when interviewing people for “Faith Unexpected” was truly inspiring. There were some common elements as well: somebody shared something of the gospel story with another person . . .

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