What's in this session?

  • The storytelling power of “show, don’t tell”
  • Jesus, the master storyteller
  • Instead of simply us about the Kingdom of God, Jesus shows us the story of the mustard seed
  • When you communicate by telling, you force others to have your experience; not their own
  • There is nothing wrong with sharing your interpretation of a story - but telling, and not showing, undermines the unique and personal experience others can have

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

If you wanna be a great storyteller, you need to embrace the phrase show, don’t tell, and in this video, I’m gonna show you precisely how to do that. Well, hey there, I’m Brady Shearer from ProChurchTools.com, helping you seize the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service. Guess what, we publish new videos every single week, so make sure you hit the subscribe button below and if you like this video, it would mean the world to me if you hit the thumbs up button also. I want you to imagine a scenario for a moment. Think about one of the best books you’ve ever read, a book that was so good you wish you could read it all over again for the very first time. Got it? Okay. Now, think of sharing that book with a friend, giving someone else the opportunity to discover a new world, meet new characters, to read through a book that meant so much to you and experience the same feelings that you did reading it for the very first time. Your friend would read the book and then you’d talk about it together, sharing the parts that you loved most. Now, imagine this instead, rather than showing them the actual book and encouraging them to read it, what if you just tell them the plot. That’d be faster, right? Frodo, orcs, ring gets destroyed, eagles fly them home. Powerful, right? This is the difference between showing and telling, the difference between allowing the person to experience something for themselves versus telling them what they will experience. I had this happen to me just last year with the movie Arrival. I saw the movie in the theaters with my wife and it absolutely blew me away. The next day I came into work and I told my entire team that we were taking a field trip to go see the movie together, we’d see a matinee on a Tuesday afternoon, whatever it took because I wanted everyone on my team to experience the same thing that I did. And, of course, I didn’t tell them the plot. In fact, I did the thing where I shared as little as I possibly could, I wanted them to experience it for themselves. And you know what happened? Well, we all saw the movie and all 10 of us experienced something slightly different. One of us loved the soundtrack, another loved the characters, yet another loved the underlying message of the film, and down the line we each shared a unique experience that we had had with an amazing story. The Christian movie industry is notorious for making films that break this show don’t tell rule. Some Christian movies are so afraid that you’ll miss the exact message that they want you to hear, so they’ll tell you it again and again and shove it down your throat, just to make sure you don’t miss it. But when you do this, when you do this, you rob storytelling of it’s power because what a great story does is it leads you to a place where you can have an epiphany of your own. Just like when my team and I saw Arrival together, we each got something different from the movie. Why? Well, because even though we saw the same exact film, we each saw it through our own unique world views, circumstances, of life experiences. And if you’re still unsure of this whole show, don’t tell mantra, there’s perhaps no better example than Jesus himself. Christ comes to Earth and he shares some of the most important truths that the world has ever heard and how does he do it? By showing us through stories that we know as parables. Instead of just telling us about redemption, he shows us the story of the Prodigal Son. Instead of just telling us about love, he shows us the story of the Good Samaritan. And instead of just telling us about the kingdom, he shows us the story of the Mustard Seed. Show, don’t tell. When you communicate by telling, you force others to experience the exact same thing as you did and this negates their unique circumstances, life experiences, world views. However, when you communicate by showing, using story, you invite everyone to the table, to stumble upon their own epiphanies, and to experience truth in a deeper and lasting way. If you liked this video, make sure you hit the like button below and definitely subscribe to the ProChurchTools channel, we publish new videos like this every single week, helping your church seize the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service. Of course, if you have any questions or comments leave them below, I would love to hear from you. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.

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