I’m doing a presentation on Thursday for some aspiring professional speakers, part of the candidate program of the Oregon chapter of the National Speakers Association, which I belong to. So I’ve been thinking about storytelling and speaking, something all church leaders do. But storytelling is a key part of leadership, too, not simply the craft of public speaking. Church leaders need to tell at least three kinds of stories:
1) Tell the biblical story. It amazes me that I can come to a text I’ve read dozens of times and see something new. The biblical story as a whole and the individual stories within it are endlessly deep and rich. And many of the people we lead don’t know it very well. Important stories shape our lives. And no story is more important for us than this one.
2) Tell this church’s story. Your own community has a history, whether long or short, with both successes and failures. Some churches only remember the successes, some only remember the failures. It’s important to be honest about both, and use the whole fabric of the past as a resource for the future.
3) Tell your own story. Share who you are. For one thing, no one else has your story. The pulpit is not the place to navel-gaze, but strategically use your story to define yourself as a leader.
Think about it. What stories are you going to tell this week: in meetings, in conversation, in the pulpit?