Storytime – Cultivating a Creative Environment

I recently spent the evening with a group of close friends around a bonfire in my backyard. Our time together began early and it ended late. To be honest, none of us noticed the time slip by because we were so engaged with one another in taking turns telling stories and listening to stories.

There is something about a good story that we all love. It is the language of our souls. Our culture is a culture of storytellers. Whether it is in the movies we watch, the books we read or the music we listen to, they are all marked by stirring tales that make us laugh and that make us cry.

The Church has the greatest story ever told to convey to a world that needs to hear it. However, I fear that in worship experiences all over the world, this story is being told with such boredom, irrelevance and disconnect that it is falling on deaf ears.

We must rediscover the storytelling skills that Jesus displays within the Gospels to once again awaken a love for God and his Kingdom. There is a common theme throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that becomes evident as Jesus travels from town to town. Wherever He goes, crowds follow Him. Each time He finds himself surrounded; he begins to share with them deep spiritual truth using parables.

Parable: a simple, yet profound, story that is used to illustrate a spiritual truth

We have modern day parables that we are very familiar with. From The Boy Of Cried Wolf to The Tortoise And The Hare, these stories teach important morals about the value of honesty and the importance of determination.  Jesus’ preferred way of preaching and teaching was by the use of stories just like these.

He told a story about a wayward son who finally comes home and is met by a father full of grace, a sheep who gets lost and a shepherd who risks everything to find it and a treasure that is discovered in a field and is worth whatever it would cost someone to have.

These parables that Jesus tells are instruments of transformation that don’t just appeal to our minds, they appeal to our hearts. Jesus is a master storyteller and He is our model to follow as we communicate the good news of Jesus within our churches.

There are four simple ways that you can become a better communicator by implementing stories into your preaching and teaching:


Some of the best stories you can tell to illustrate timeless truths come from your own life experience. Make it a point to take adventures, proactively seek fun, enter into suffering and sacrificially serve others. Pay attention to your life and capture the many ways the Gospel is put on display in your every day life.


Be sensitive in your spirit as you go about your day to the unexpected ways God teaches you about who He is. It may come in the form of a great movie, a new book, a news article or television show. Even though that producer, writer, or actor may not be intending to shine a light on a Biblical truth, you can take that story and redeem it for a higher purpose.


The best storytellers are the ones who tell it with their entire being. Their inflections demonstrate their convictions. Their body language inspires excitement. Your audience will feed off of your energy if you story tell like you believe it. No one wants to listen to someone tell a story that they themselves are bored with. If you can’t tell the story you want to tell in your message with emotion and feeling, find another story.


I would argue that comedians make the best preachers. That is because they know how to connect with an audience. They know how to read a room. They know how to deliver a story in pieces at just the right time. One of my biggest inspirations as a communicator is actually the comedian, Jim Gaffigan. His timing is spot on and his ability to draw an audience in is unmatched. You be the communicator God has created you to be, but if there is a pastor or preacher you admire, watch as many sermons as you can. Make notes. What makes them special? How can I apply that principle?