As Titus Project leaders from around the world gathered in Taiwan in April, we discussed the additions made to our programs, in the effort to make Titus Project better and better each year. (Michael and I just listened – we haven’t run a Titus Project yet, so we had lots to learn!) One discussion was centered around books. Though Titus Project is a short program – three weeks of training time and two months of outreach, we usually have our participants read about four books, and possibly a fifth based on the history/culture of the country they’ll visit on outreach.
One of the books we discussed was Telling the Gospel Through Story: Evangelism That Keeps Hearers Wanting More, by Christine Dillon. This was a book read by Taiwan’s Titus Project, which makes sense, as the author is a missionary/church-planter with OMF, in Taiwan. As the title suggests, the book is all about evangelism through telling Bible stories. While Titus Project isn’t necessarily an evangelism program (the goal is to teach people how to study their Bibles, and the people most interested in that are generally already believers), story-telling is a powerful communication tool, and one that we encourage Titus Project participants to use in their teachings. While this tool can be especially effective when working with oral communicators, Dillon has had success with storying with all sorts of audiences.
Storying opens people to the gospel. “Sometimes storying is the only way people are wiling to listen to the gospel. They may have built up defensive walls against other evangelistic methods, had bad experiences in the past, or their own religious leaders have warned them against listening to the Bible” (p. 23). If this is the case, isn’t it worthwhile to consider storying as part of our evangelism and teaching efforts? Storying can be done with non-seekers, it creates community, it can help develop theological understanding, and it can be used to challenge false worldviews. Jesus was the Master Storyteller, and His example is of course one we are called to imitate.
Dillon’s book is divided into five parts: the first part “Foundations” answers the question, “Why Storying?” The second part speaks to how to prepare a basic story set. The third gives practical tips on getting out and using storying. Part four takes the practical use of storying even further, encouraging story-tellers to pass on their training to others. Part five addresses how to adapt storying for different audiences.
All in all, Telling the Gospel Through Story is an excellent book, and an amazing starting point for learning an effective style of evangelism and communication. If you would like further information, and further resources, go to storyingthescriptures.com, where you can watch a set of fourteen videos of Bible stories, which outlines the Biblical story from Creation, to Jesus’ resurrection.