Want to deepen the congregation’s experience of your sermon?
Tell a story.
Just like memories and feelings from the past are triggered by listening to songs from high school, stories trigger emotions and memories in people and involve them in the story being told.
Paul Andrew Costello of the Center for Narrative Studies, writes:
Its not the story you tell that matters,
despite all our workshops and training
its the story you trigger
the story people listen to you through.
The art of improv is storytelling in the present moment. Improvisers invite the audience to take a peak into the story enacted on stage through the characters on stage. The best improvised stories are the ones where the audience feels like they are flies on the wall of the story, observers of lives lived.
The story told triggers emotional responses within the audience made audible and visible through laughter, gasps, chuckles, furrowed brows, and possibly even tears. The audience isn’t passively watching a story told, they are experiencing life played out in front of them.
One of the best compliments my improv partner and I get after a show is “You gave us characters we cared about.” The audience became involved in the lives of the characters created on stage.
Stories matter because they involve the listener into the life of the story in a way explanation of an idea or a commentary about Scripture cannot.
Here’s the bottom line: The next time you want to explain your point, find a way to illustrate it with a story. Doing so will deepen the experience of the listener and connect them to the sermon in a way that you cannot anticipate.