My daddy was a great story teller. Family gatherings almost always ended up in the living room with one of us kids begging, “Dad, tell the one about…” He loved family history and those stories shared over the decades among aunts, uncles, cousins and grandchildren helped us to realize how we are all connected and a part of the same story. Dad also said with a twinkle in his eye, “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story,” so we knew we had to pay attention in case something about the story had changed!
No one in our format seems to openly doubt the power of a story, but I’m surprised how few talent tell stories on the air… much less do it well. It seems that we give lip service to story and then go about our business sharing data or talking about something on Facebook, the ultimate lazy man’s show prep.
Just for clarification…
Saying we’ll pray for people is not storytelling.
Telling people to go to our website is not storytelling.
Giving traffic reports is not storytelling.
Saying partly cloudy tomorrow with a high of 85 is not storytelling.
Giving the title and artist is not storytelling.
No, in stories something has to HAPPEN. There is a situation before, there is an action, and then there is a transformation. (More about this in an upcoming Frost Advisory).
I once asked Matthew West about the impact on his career of writing songs based up stories his fans sent him. “It’s transformed it,” he replied. “I used to have people tell me they liked my music. Now they want to tell me their story.” It’s changed that relationship.
We have lived this out during the pandemic, haven’t we? Lock downs. Testing. Mask or no mask. Vaccine or no vaccine.
Yale’s Stan Vermund works with the entertainment industry in telling more persuasive stories about COVID-19… “Someone who hasn’t studied science for twenty years would rather hear a story.”
Perhaps this is the best case for the power of story. My pastor, Tullian Tchividjian, recently shared that Jesus never spoke to anyone without telling a story. That’s important enough to say again.
Jesus never spoke to anyone without telling a story.
Why? Because people remember stories. Not because of what happened, but because of what it meant.