How to Tell a Story Narratively

This six step approach will help you to learn how to a incorporate stewardship story narratively.

How to Tell a Story Narratively
Dr. Ed Kruse

People love a good story. The best story to tell is God's story because it makes Christ known. Some of our most enjoyable stories are those of how God is blessing people through our giving.

A narrative approach invites everyone to connect the story with what God might invite us to change in our lives. Opening up a story narratively is fun and easy to do.   This simple process can be used with any Bible story or other story. The process can also be used in a group of any size. Simply follow these steps:

Step 1 -- Name the story- "This story is called ____________________."

Step 2 -- Invite listeners to think of the characters in the story as -- a) recipients who receive the gift, b) donors who give the gift, or c) agent through whom the gift is given. Repeat the three categories. Then just start telling or reading the story.

Step 3 -- Ask, "What does this story tell us?" (2-3 responses are enough)

Step 4 -- Invite the audience to imagine how the story might have been significant in the life of each character (10-15 minutes). Start with the recipient (e.g., the sick person, poor and needy, the multitude who ate, or the prodigal son) ... Then go to the donor (God, people putting money in the offering, the boy with the loaves and fish, the prodigal son's father)... Then the agent (congregation, you as story teller, ELCA, the disciples, the servants of the prodigal son's father)... Take 2/3 of your time with Steps 4 and 5.

Step 5 -- Ask this question about each person in the story, "How might the (recipient, donor, or agent) have changed as a result of this experience?" (15-20 minutes). Take 5 minutes to reflect on each character before going on to the next one.

Follow up discussion questions (as time allows):

  • Where was God involved?
  • Give an example in which God worked in people's lives through the giving of your congregation?
  • Recall a gift that you gave -- time, work, or some other gift. How did God make a difference in those who received your gift? How did God impact you in giving?
  • Think about the money your congregation gives in mission support. How does knowing that God changes people's lives through your offerings make you feel?
  • What change might you make in your life as a result of experiencing the story in this way?

Step 6 -- Thank the participants for listening, for participating and for their generous giving. Invite them to turn to the person on each side of them and say, "Thank you for your generous giving."

How to Tell a Story Narratively
Ed Kruse -- June 2007

Author

Dr. Ed Kruse is Director for Stewardship ELCA.

Author information was updated as of the article's post date. Author profiles may not reflect author's current employment or location.

Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa (ignaciogarcialosa.com) via Flickr. Used by permission.

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