I may have actually figured it out. Not to my credit, I should have seen it decades ago.
I have listened to many Bible classes, sermons, Gospel meetings, and seminars and lectureships. I have read so many articles on the matter, and perhaps it was spoken or alluded to, but I missed the point.
The question of how to be more effective in sharing the Gospel of Jesus to the lost souls around plagues many of us. It seems some can just open their mouths and the right thing comes out. Others study and prepare but can’t think through the process. Others may get stage fright with even and audience of one or two. Whatever the reason or situation, we need to be more effective.
If we look at secular and religious history, we see that storytelling and song was how to pass down history and knowledge.
I had the privilege of being invited to Seder at the house of a friend. At the time of the meal, the eldest son ask why to the food symbols on the table. The meat, the bitter herb, etc.
This prompted the head of the house to tell the story of slavery in Egypt, the plagues, the Passover, and the Exodus.
This story told at tables all over the world near Passover.
I had the honor of sitting at the campfire of Native Americans who were fighting forest fires in Northern California with me. 16 hours in the heat and smoke and then when they got back to camp….. they lit a fire.
I didn’t understand what they were saying, many of them used chants and the native tongue. I was told they are going over the events of the day and the week and learning to tell the story.
The history and language of this people were not in first grade textbooks, but around the fire listening to, and learning to tell the stories.
I know that many cultures used storytelling as a way of preserving the past.
We are blessed to be the most communicative era in history. I can converse with almost anyone in the world and usually get almost any translation very quickly at little or no cost. I can even see their face and expression as we talk.
I can look up almost anything and usually watch a video about it, visit an expert, email a professor, or ask a question to an audience of thousands and get input from everywhere.
I watch a video on a car repair before starting to learn from someone elses’ busted knuckles.
All this, and yet we have become poor in the art of storytelling. Orson Wells, Mark Twain, Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie are among some of the well known storytellers a generation gone. Some tell the stories in song, others write, or tell it live.
Now Garrison Keillor is great to hear delivering an anecdote or a tale of Lake Wobegone. (follow the link if you wish)
We just don’t practice it in the home so much. We let the internet and the television tell the story for us.
Have we become a generation that observes, but doesn’t pass on? (excluding #tweets, viral videos, and gossip)
I believe this is what is missing in personal evangelism. Simply learning to tell THE STORY. We are involved in a Bible class which has been reviewing basic teaching so we can share with others with more confidence, but knowing the facts isn’t enough, we need to learn to share our story face to face with another.
We will be effective evangelists when we realize that the evangelism of the first century was done walking between towns with other people for safety. On the journey, you start talking. Before long, you are telling of the wonderful things you witnessed at the Sea of Galilee. Maybe, that you were in a house to hear a man speak and someone tore a hole in the roof and let in a lame man. The speaker healed him just by speaking aloud!
I imagine Jesus telling the parables in a wonderful story.
We think of a preacher standing up to the microphone and tapping it a few times, then delivering a carefully assembled outline. Perhaps an anecdote to get the situation and application set.
The Master Teacher told stories that engaged his audience. Sometimes with anger, but always engaged.
I would encourage all of us to learn to tell The Story.
Maybe an example: I was having a bad life, and then a wonderful thing happened to me. Someone told me about Jesus, and how valuable I really am.
Your story may start with . . . I had lost everything and presumed that God had nothing to do with me. I learned that I was valuable enough for him to send his divine son to suffer pain and shame then die so I can have a relationship with The Creator.
Yours is probably different, but it deserves to be told. Practice it and tell The Story!