The world shut down and we all found ourselves locked in our houses. Now, one of the most asked questions is, “What are you watching these days?”
Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney + have served as our respite in these chaotic days. We have opportunities to get lost in stories. It’s been fun to follow new characters into new situations or even be reintroduced to old characters and be reminded why we loved them. These stories serve as a source of entertainment, stability, and even relief. Everybody loves a good story.
Stories are everywhere. People think in terms of stories. They live out stories. Communities are built around shared stories as much as around shared experiences. People read books, watch movies, and binge watch a series. What’s the lesson here? Quite simply: we love stories. God has made us story tellers and hearers. The gospel is a story and when we learn to tell the gospel as a story, we speak a language that people already understand, and we are also using a language we are comfortable with.
The Four Key Story Elements
How do we do this? Think about how many stories you have recommended to your friends over the past couple of months. What do you say? I bet you talk about four key elements
1. The character—every story is about someone
2. The context—every story happens somewhere unique
3. The crisis—every story is about a problem that must be fixed
4. The clock—every story crisis must be solved before something worse happens
Then, because you want them to watch, you probably say something like: “I am not going to tell you how it ends.”
The Gospel as a Story
How can you tell the gospel as a story? Watch this:
- Character: There is this great God. He is loving, compassionate, good, jealous, giving, and patient.
- Context: He created this amazing world and filled it with people who were supposed to enjoy His creation and be in a relationship with Him. But the people rebelled and broke the perfect world.
- Crisis: The whole story is about God coming into the world and sacrificing His life to rescue these people. However, they keep making things worse by rejecting His gifts.
- Clock: The real problem is that each person has a limited time to choose God. If they die without Him, they have no hope. Also, God has promised that someday, and He didn’t say when, He will make the whole world right again, He will crush His enemies and re-establish His kingdom; any person who hasn’t chosen Him will be treated like His enemy and will be destroyed.
“I can’t really tell you how the story ends because every person has to make his or her own choice. The good news is, as long as people can hear the story, they can still choose God’s way.”
I know this simple plot line doesn’t contain all the details you might want to include. However, the point of this post is that each one of us has everything we need to share the gospel with others. It is easy to be intimidated by what we don’t know, but I hope you can see from this simple story outline that you can do this. You already know the language. God created us to be story tellers and to love a good story. Remember, His story is the greatest of all.
Okay, fellow storytellers, it’s your turn. Go forth and tell!