Months ago my wife posted a video on Facebook that got a lot of views. She recorded me telling our two year old daughter a Bible story. It was adorable the way she was engaged and listening. As soon as I would get done with the story, she would ask me to tell her another one.
From a very young age, we have all been fascinated with great stories. It’s why we read books, watch movies, and watch television shows. We love stories.
In preaching we typically make it a point to include a story or antidote within our sermons. I’d like to propose to you an idea that will make your message highly engaging and keep people on the edge of their seats. And yes, I really do mean that.
Engage: Weave a Single Story Throughout Your Sermon
I absolutely love being able to park in one passage of Scripture and interact with it. I believe that the most important narrative in your sermon is always Scripture. That should go without saying, but I can only imagine the backlash this article could get if I don’t make that clear upfront.
My proposal to you is this: instead of using some random antidote or telling a story in a specific part of your message, choose to weave a single, engaging story, throughout your entire message.
A word of caution: if you’re not in the habit of looking for and compiling great stories of people having their lives changed by God, this will be significantly more time consuming than your normal sermon preparation.
If you want to engage your congregation in a unique way, couple the biblical text with your single, engaging story.
How to Weave a Story Throughout Your Sermon
First things first, you need to find a great story that relates to the Scripture you are preaching on. I recommend you find a story that relates to the theme of the text, illustrates the implications of the text playing out in real life, or gives emotion and flesh to the text.
Second, identify the parallel parts of the story and text. Ask yourself, “are there common breaks in the story where I can switch back and forth between the text and the story?” If you can begin telling the story or begin reading the text and then switch back and forth in a purposeful way, you’ll keep people on the edge of their seats as they wait to see what is going to happen in both the story and the text.
Third, tell them both with passion, energy, and emotion.
Why Do This?
People connect with stories. They can see themselves in the narrative and they will naturally make applications from the text to their lives.
When people hear about God working in another person’s life, their faith becomes even more real to them.
Telling one main story in addition to the biblical text will help you with engaging with your congregation simply because you’ll know your material in a better way.
It will force you to try something new. I don’t know of many preaching books or courses that will tell you to try something like this, but I believe it will be worthwhile.
Something I’ve Done
I’ve done this a few times this year and it was a blast. To give you an example of how this could work for you, you’ll see an embedded video below.
The sermon begins at the 26:36 minute mark. Prior to preparing this message, I had received Jeff Goins’ latest book, The Art of Work, which contained the story that I used in the message.
What has been your experience with weaving a single story throughout your sermon? Have you ever done it? What was it like? Let us know in the comments below!