Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Great Storyteller of the Great Story...

Jesus used stories when he spoke to the people. In fact, he did not tell them anything without using stories... Matthew 13:34 CEV

Have you ever noticed that when someone asked Jesus a question, he often responded with a story?

According to the latest research, it seems Jesus was way ahead of his time. Cognitive scientist Roger Shank tells us research is showing that "humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories." I noticed this again last year when reading a book on Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was constantly telling stories in response to questions or difficult decisions, sometimes much to the chagrin of the people around him.

"Honest Abe
" was on to something.
He knew that stories resonate with people at a far deeper level than logical information does. Clearly, information has its place... but it pales in comparison to the imprint stories make in people's hearts and minds.

So, here's the question for the day. When explaining your point of view, do you rely more on information or story? Now, here's your assignment for the day. When explaining something to a co-worker, friend, child or whomever... try to be a storyteller instead of an information distributor. I bet you'll find something powerful happens. Your point will have greater staying power connected to the story you tell.

The question of information versus story is also particularly important for those of us who are Christ-followers. Perhaps one of the most important things we could do this year is simply become better storytellers. After all, I'd say Jesus is a pretty good story to tell. Some, in fact, say he's the greatest story ever told.