Truth That Sticks
How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World
by Avery Willis and Mark Snowden
Avery and Mark—excellent story tellers—were on a mission to motivate and recruit more story-telling disciple-makers when they wrote this book in their down-to-earth storytelling style. And rightly so. In this postmodern world more people need to either read this book or go to an ION (International Orality Network) conference and get on board with this appropriate methodology for sharing Christ and making disciples. That said if you are already “on board” with storytelling, a lot of this book will not be new to you. The concepts and strategies are familiar. However, chapters three through five are particularly helpful for anyone interested in developing their storytelling and disciple-making skills. Below is a quick synopsis of those key chapters. My advice is ‘buy the book.’ Even though you may not get a lot from the rest of the book, these chapters are worth the price of the book.
Using the Sensory Gates
“God designed us to use all of our senses to make His truth stick. Velcro works because it uses multiple hooks and loops.” (page 42) Therefore we should seek to appeal to all the senses of our hearers when we tell stories. This chapter is based on a story within a story—Avery tells us a story about how he told a story in Hawaii appealing to all the senses of the audience: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. Other examples are also developed.
Making the Bible Come to Life
As I speak with people interested in beginning to tell stories or in developing their skill, I find that their number one concern is remembering the story. In my opinion, the best part of this chapter—and possibly the book—is a section entitled “Learning the Story” in which the authors give10 suggestions for remembering a story. I made up a little chart to help me use these tools. You’ll also want to be sure to take note of the other great tips in this chapter for telling stories effectively.
Head, Heart, Hands
In chapter five, the authors encourage their readers to use questions, as Jesus did, to “get the Bible into people.” They tell us there are at least three types of questions we will want to use in helping people grasp the meaning and implications of any Bible story: head, heart, and hands questions. In general, ‘head’ questions ask “What?” ‘heart’ questions ask “Why?” and ‘hands’ questions ask “How?” Questions from each of these categories should be used after telling a Bible story to ensure that the hearers understand and are able to apply the story to their lives. The authors also point out that while a certain question may be strategic for one person, it may very well frustrate another. So a good storyteller will vary the questions she asks in order to relate to different personality types in the audience.