Every sales training I’ve been part of has covered the topic of story selling. This is the tactic where instead of simply discussing the benefits of your selected product, you tell a story. Buried in the story are various parts. One part of the story is the emotional appeal designed to connect with the listener. Other parts are analogies that you can later connect to the product or service you’re selling. The idea is that by using the story, the buyer can look past jargon and technical terms and understand the WHY behind the product or service.
This same tactic is used to teach kids math. Simply memorizing that 4*3=12 is difficult. But thinking about you and 3 other friends all having 3 pieces of candy, and you can quickly figure out how much candy you all have together.
Most sermons will being (or at least some point in the sermon) with some sort of personal story, one that connect the audience with the very topic being taught.
The best teachers in the world use some sort of story to communicate effectively to their audience. But want makes them the best teachers is not just the fact that they use a story, it’s the fact that they use a story that particular audience will understand.
The best teacher in history was Jesus. He set the stage with this concept of story telling. Apparently the concept was new because even the disciples traveling with him were surprised at his use of stories or parables.
“Then the disciples came and said to him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ And he answered them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.'” (Matthew 13:10-11)
Jesus knew that most people could simply not grasp what He was talking about. By telling stories, people would grasp the concept even if not fully understanding it’s application.
One great story is when Jesus wanted to explain the power of forgiveness. The fact that we are forgiven and are called to also forgive others. He explains about a servant who owed more money that he would earn in a lifetime. A debt impossible to pay. His master wiped the debt clean and freed him. However that servant (now free of a lifetime worth of debt) had someone who owed him about 3 months worth of pay. He refused to give this small debt even though he had been forgiven so much.
Jesus’ point is that He has forgiven us more than we could even possible imagine. How awful would it be for us (who has been forgiven much) to not even extend a little forgiveness to others. Everyone listening could see how wrong the servant was. And Jesus even drove the point home in the end.
“So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” in verse 35.
Next time you’re trying to explain something and it seems you are just not getting anywhere, turn to a story, one that the audience can relate to. They’re more likely to get it and to in turn get the point.