In a Dallas Seminary Daily Devotional a few years ago, Chuck Swindoll talked about the importance of story for effective communication: “Stories transport us into another world. They hold our attention. They become remarkable vehicles for the communication of truth and meaningful lessons that cannot be easily forgotten. If a picture is better than a thousand words, a story is better than a million!
“Some of the best stories are those spun from everyday life or from our past. Family histories are held together and handed down from generation to generation in stories. And these strong cords of memory actually become the ties that bind. Biographies drip with interesting accounts worth passing on. For example, Human Options by the late Norman Cousins is a treasure house of his recollections, impressions, and encounters distilled from his dozen or more trips around the world. He calls it an “autobiographical notebook.”
“Stories, real and imagined, told with care and color, can say much more than a planned speech. It is probably not surprising, then, that the use of story was Jesus’ favorite method of preaching: ‘he did not say anything to them without using a parable’ (Matt. 13:34, NIV). In fact, I’ve never heard a great preacher who couldn’t tell a good story. Woven into the tapestry of the strong message is the ability to communicate solid stuff through an attention-getting story.”