How do you teach the Bible to people who don’t believe the Bible and may not be very interested in what the Bible has to say? The last couple weeks I’ve shared a few ideas, and most are especially for teaching pessimistic people. This strategy works for cynical people, and everyone else too.
Stories are powerful. It’s why we love to watch movies, and TV, and read novels.
When you teach propositional truth, you set me up to debate with you. When you tell me a story, you set me up to find myself in the story. I can’t help it.
Jesus knew this. It’s why He always taught with a story: “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable” (Matthew 13:34).
The difficult part, as someone who speaks every week, is having enough stories to “always have a story.” Two things I’ve found help me: (1) I watch my life. As things happen I’m always thinking, “Would this be an interesting story? Would this be funny to other people? What truth does this illustrate?” If I didn’t actively think this way, I think I’d miss a lot of good “material.” (2) I watch movies and TV shows, listen to other sermons, and read books and magazines. And as I do, again, I’m looking for interesting or funny or beautiful or compelling stories that can illustrate truth.
Other people probably have better systems for filing stories, but the only thing that has worked for me is to have documents created in my computer for future messages, and when I have a story I’ll type it into the document for that future message. Then, later, when I open the file up to write it, it’s like I’ve left myself a present. And then I’m so happy with myself I usually tip me a couple bucks.