The 3-Step Church Storytelling Formula | Ep. #001

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

January 8th, 2018

Storytelling is the most important skill you can learn to help your church grow, succeed, and accomplish your vision and mission. In this episode Brady shares his 3 step storytelling formula.

Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Storytape.com. Unlimited stock video downloads on a single monthly subscription. For the month of January, join Storytape Unlimited and use the coupon code “daily” to get a 10% forever discount, along with Brady’s private vault of 25 proven video templates.

What’s In This Session?

  • Storytelling formula overview(1:23)
  • A character with a desire (1:36)
  • Encounters a problem (2:14)
  • Makes a decision (2:23)
  • BIG story example (2:39)
  • SMALL story example (4:31)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Brady Shearer: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Story Tape Unlimited, stock video downloads on a single monthly subscription. Head to Storytape.com and you can browse through every single video clip we have to offer for free.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in ten minutes or less you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, Brady Shearer.

On today’s show, we’re going to talk about the three step church storytelling formula.

Brady Shearer: Storytelling Alex, we think that it’s the most important skill that you can learn to help your church grow, succeed and accomplish your vision and mission. What we want to offer you and give to you in this very first inaugural episode of Pro Church Daily is a three stop church storytelling formula, and this is a storytelling formula that I’ve been developing for years, and it is church specific. It’s easy to use. It’s easy to understand, easy to remember, but it also can apply to really big stories, and we’ll give you some examples to this in just a moment, or really small seemingly mundane stories, spoiler alert, there’s no such thing as a boring or mundane story, because we, as humans, are wired to both listen, receive and hear stories, and tell stories. It’s the best way that we communicate. We’ve been doing it for millennia.

Let’s talk about the storytelling formula in and of itself. It’s three steps, super easy to remember. Step number one is a character with a desire. Step two, encounters a problem, and step three, makes a decision. That’s the big overview of this three step storytelling formula. Let’s dive into each step individually.

Step number one, a character with a desire. The very first part of your story is you need a character. You need someone that your audience can empathize with, someone that your audience can relate to, and so you need to establish your story at the very beginning, with that character. Who is it? The second part of that first step is, okay we know who the character is, now what do they want? What is their desire? What are they trying to accomplish? Of course, if that was all your story was, it’d be kind of boring because we want a story with conflict. You don’t have a story if you don’t have conflict.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: You need something for your lead character to overcome. Otherwise, they are just a spoiled millennial. Step number two is that they encounter a problem.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: This is the obstacle. This is the opponent. This is the antagonist, perhaps. Then, step number three in this storytelling formula, your lead character has to make a decision. Are they going to give up? Are they going to push through? Are they going to succeed? Are they going to fail?

Now that we’ve got kind of the abstract view of this storytelling formula, let’s apply it to some real life examples. We’re going to start with a really big example. Spoiler alerts ahead for Star Wars Episode 8, The Last Jedi. If you’ve not yet seen it, not crazy spoilers really, but let’s call them minor spoilers.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: This is what our storytelling formula looks like on the grandest scale, a $100 million dollar plus feature film. The very beginning scene of Star Wars Episode 8, The Last Jedi, is a continuing of the final scene in Episode 7, The Force Awakens. Basically we’ve got our lead character, Rae, and she’s standing at the top of this mountain, this island where Luke Skywalker has isolated himself, where he’s living as a hermit, and Rae is holding out this light saber towards Luke in hopes of recruiting him to the resistance. That’s step one of our storytelling formula right there. Step one, a character, Rae, with a desire. Her desire, to recruit Luke Skywalker, so that’s step one. We know who our character is. We know what she wants, what she’s trying to accomplish.

Step number two, she encounters a problem. What is that problem, Alex?

Alex Mills: Well, Luke is the problem.

Brady Shearer: Luke is the problem because he is resistant to joining the resistance in this case, and he’s basically saying, “Look, I know you want me to join, but I’m not your man. I don’t do this anymore. Jedis, we need to just die. It’s over, okay? I screwed it all up. We’re done.”

Alex Mills: That’s a problem.

Brady Shearer: That is indeed a problem, but that leads us to step three of the storytelling formula. Rae is now forced with making a decision, and the decision she makes is look, if Luke is going to be the proverbial stick in the mud, I’m going to have to recruit someone else if I can’t recruit him, and she goes on a mission, on a quest, to recruit Kylo Ren, still believing that there is some good in him. Maybe she can get him to join the resistance and help restore the balance. Where have we heard that story before?

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: That’s kind of like the storytelling formula in its most grand, epic, feature film, science fiction, hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars, and billions of dollars earned. Let’s talk about a micro example. Yesterday, we wanted to record this very first episode of Pro Church Daily.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I was the lead character in this story, the person that wanted to record, and my desire was to record.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Step one. Step two, we encountered a problem.

Alex Mills: A minor one.

Brady Shearer: The problem was that we have been treated this room with acoustic panels to improve the overall acoustics, to make this podcast listenable. This room has very tall ceilings and it is very reverbery. That’s a word.

Alex Mills: That is a word.

Brady Shearer: The reverberations have been extravagant up until this point. We needed to treat the room with acoustic panels, and so that’s what we did. We encountered a problem. What was that problem, Alex?

Alex Mills: We didn’t have the correct hardware to mount the floating panels to the ceiling.

Brady Shearer: Right, because there was two types of panels we had. We had the ceilings that, the ceiling, the panels that we put on the walls, but then also we needed panels that were hanging from the ceiling. We got the wall panels up, no problem, but we did encounter a problem. We did not have the right mounting hardware. Let’s go to step three of our storytelling formula.

Alex Mills: Had to make a choice.

Brady Shearer: We had to make a decision. Couple options that we could have done with. We could have just recorded without the ceiling panels installed. Install them for the next episode, whatever, move forward. We could have rushed everything that day, and recorded late into the evening, or we could have just pushed the record date one day.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: We made that final decision, made the decision to just record today rather than yesterday, and there’s our storytelling formula in its most micro sense. The great thing about this formula, this way of telling stories, this framework is that if you are a pastor, if you are a volunteer, if you serve in a church, you can use this in every context. Kind of kicked off this episode of Pro Church Daily with this claim, storytelling is the most important skill you as an individual can learn to help your church. The reason for that is that it is the best way that we as humans communicate.

Alex Mills: For sure.

Brady Shearer: If you’re a teaching or preaching pastor, you can use it from stage. You can use it on social media. You can use it, of course, in videos. It applies to every single context. It doesn’t change and it’s not going away. You don’t have to feel like, you know, the social platforms are always changing, storytelling isn’t. Learn the skill, you’re set for life.

Alex Mills: I work in a church, when I’m not working here, and I use this formula all the time. We use it in our announcements. We use it, we even use it in our worship, if you can believe it, but definitely when I teach, I’m using it all the time. I find when you keep this kind of in your mind, in the forefront of your memory, thinking about stories all the time, you’ll begin to see them everywhere. You’re living a story, whether it’s macro or micro, all the time. This is how we connect as humans, so yeah, it’s really important.

Brady Shearer: I love it. That will do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily, but before we go, we wanted to tell you about Story Tapes. Story Tape is our stock video platform that we’ve created where instead of downloading ala carte and paying upwards of $200.00 to $500.00 for just one, 10 second 4k clip.

Alex Mills: Yeah, no thanks.

Brady Shearer: Not about that life. With Story Tape you get access to unlimited stock video downloads on a single monthly subscription. For you, listener or viewer of Pro Church Daily, we’re doing something special just for the month of January in 2018, kicking the year off right. If you go to Storytape.com, and join Story Tape Unlimited, that plan, we’re going to give you, not just 6,000 at this point, clips, access to, but we’re also going to give you my private vault of 25 proven video templates. These are after effects templates that we’ve created, so now you’ve got the footage, but you’ll also have the templates that you can fill with the footage, and now you’ve got the perfect formula to go along with this episode of Pro Church Daily. The perfect formula for creating videos easily, quickly, without the time spent, the money spent, and the hassle, so go to Storytape.com. You can join Story Tape Unlimited.

Use the coupon code, Daily, that way we know that you’re coming from Pro Church Daily, and we’ll give you access to those bonus 25 after effects templates, only in the month of January. Use that coupon code, Daily, and oh you know what? We’ll just make it a little bit better. We’ll give you a 10% discount forever off your plan when you use that code as well.

Alex Mills: We’ll take it.

Brady Shearer: That will do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Brady Shearer: Hey, thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to Pro Church Daily for new podcasts, just like this one, every single day, and if you’d like to support this podcast, leave us a rating or review. It doesn’t cost you much, but it means the world to us. Talk to you tomorrow