“Our mission statement; it’s just words. Words on a wall. Just words. But so are the words ‘we are endowed by our creator’ and ‘I have a dream.'” These were the words from our senior pastor at a recent staff gathering. What is it that will take words to a place that mere words can’t go? Music (but that doesn’t support this article). What else? Story.
Scott McClellan has become an advocate for the theme of compelling story and even wrote a book, Tell Me a Story, to help capture this idea of taking words beyond just words. He spoke at the Echo Conference in Texas on this very theme. Here are some of the quotes taken from his talk:
A need for change, transformation and growth is where stories come in.
Let’s move from facts and disjointed anecdotes and move to meaningful, significant stories.
You can tell people when and where or you can tell them what a difference VBS (Vacation Bible School) makes.
That last quote is huge. Winning at leadership includes the ability to move from spouting information to communicating transformation.
How I Have Applied Storytelling – An Example
The first time I heard Scott speak on this topic was over a Google Hangout with my buddy, Tim Peters. Capturing stories is not a new idea. What Scott’s interview did for me was bring clarity to my church’s communication strategy. We can’t announce Men’s Breakfast as an event. A universally known truth is that men can eat breakfast anywhere. The invite must tell a story of what is at stake.
Work, t-ball games, yard work, family get-togethers, overtime hours… finding a meaningful time to do life with the guys is tough, but you know it is vital. The monthly men’s breakfast is your invitation to relax with other men and be inspired to live a noticeably different in your daily life. Time is too precious and we have too much at stake to live one more second just getting through. Find the encouragement needed to lead well in the areas God has called you to.
While I could have said “The Men’s Breakfast happens every third Saturday at 7am. Come hear stories from other men and connect in community,” that wouldn’t paint a picture of what’s at stake. In the description above I painted a picture that men can relate to. What’s at stake?: meaningful time with other guys, relaxation, living noticeably different in daily life, encouragement, a calling from God.
Tips to Capture Stories
Using the same example, here are a few tips to capturing stories.
- Send a photographer to take 20-30 photos of men eating, laughing, the speaker, etc.
- Send a copywriter to capture quotes and the stories to use for future announcements.
- Share the story of a man who has found meaningful relationships in the group (you can ask the leader for names)
- Take a picture of the upcoming speaker and ask them what they are excited to share to the group.
There IS Too Much at Stake
Leaders, communicators: There is too much at stake for us to ignore the compelling stories that God is writing. You owe it to the Church to become a better storyteller. I’ve listed Scott’s book as a resource. What resources would you recommend to others as a way of becoming a better storyteller?