Matthew says that everywhere Jesus went he told stories. Sitting on a cold jail house floor with 14 men around me, I gave them three verses on ‘forgiveness’ but they could not remember the first one. I then switched to telling the story of Joseph, multi-colored coat, sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely jailed and was yet humble and obedient before the Lord. After just one telling of the story I asked the men to retell it… they all jumped in correcting each other and getting 34 verses correct. Now I had them act out parts of the story and asked how they would feel, what they learned about God, and what God wanted them to change in their lives?
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
Leroy said, " I guess I should forgive my cousin for telling the cops what I was doing and got me in jail. Long pause….So I will drop the HIT contract on her life and forgive her."
The same concepts were true as I talking to a group of 6 college graduates and IT program developers. I asked, "Would you rather read instructions in a book then perform a new task or see someone perform the new task and then get to try it next? They all said they would rather see it then do it, rather than read about it.
Yes, Jesus knows the best way to communicate truth is in a story. He said " go and make disciples", not go and teach them just to read. Orality, the use of oral methods like stories, may mean a radical change in the way we do evangelism and discipleship. I hope the fear of change does not hold us back from following Jesus’ example and telling His story.
Reprinted with Permission from I-58 Navs, a ministry of The Navigators.