Today I begin my Professional Storytelling unit in my advanced writing class. Students learn all about the power of narrative and how to use their best stories in professional settings. Maybe they need to tell the story of their call to a vocation; maybe they need to tell a better story to engage stakeholders; maybe they need to tell the story of why they advocate for certain people or causes. We all have great stories to tell. I love the next three weeks of teaching because the stories of transformation students tell end up transforming me; great stories always invite the reader or listener to change too.
In my ministry of teaching others how to live a “sent” life and engage others in spiritual conversations, I focus on the importance of telling great personal stories that might take only 2 or 3 minutes to tell. The story of your salvation matters and is unique to you. The story of God maturing you matters so others can learn from your wisdom. The story of God providing for you showcases His loving care. Salvation. Maturity. Provision. We need your stories now more than ever. Your story can cut through the noise of the culture and serve as a bright signal. We attach to stories. We remember stories. And we pass stories on.
Telling short stories means we focus on the problem we needed to solve. We position ourselves as a character in a setting. We explain the problem, what happened to help us solve it, and how we transformed by the end. We use sensory detail and write to evoke emotion. We create mystery and tension and keep the reader enthralled. By the end, both writer and reader have changed.