There’s something about a good story that can make all the difference in a Sabbath school discussion. A good story can transport it’s hearers to another time and place and make the lessons come alive with relevance and freshness. Do you use stories in your sessions?
While the variety of stories is limitless, I have found that nothing is more impactful than reciting the stories of events found in the bible. Bringing to life the words of the bible with energy and enthusiasm will be very effective in making its principles relevant to modern day hearers.
Jesus, our best example, was a master storyteller. There are 57 different parables recorded in the New Testament that Jesus gave. They teach a wide range of lessons including charity, love, justice, vindication, mercy, humility, service and other vital points of spiritual life.
The hearers of His parables were spellbound and many times not even aware that they were the subject of the parable being given. I’m certain that His authenticity, choice of words, and demeanor all contributed to the impact of each story. Once heard, the Holy Spirit would enable the hearers to identify with the story and allow the seed of truth to take root and grow.
What makes a teacher a good storyteller?
There are several ingredients to being a good storyteller which include:
1) Enthusiasm: You can’t expect a story to come alive if you deliver it in a lifeless manner. Tell the story as if it had never been told before. Practice telling your story at home, even if you tell it out loud to just yourself. Convey the story as if you were there yourself.
2) Relevance: A good storyteller shares the story that makes the point without the necessity of mental gymnastics. The clearer the connection, the better. The story should relate to the topic being discussed. There’s a biblical story for any topic one could ever discuss during Sabbath school.
3) Insight: Find those jewels of truth overlooked by the casual reader. The 5 volume Conflict of the Ages series by Ellen G. White has tremendous commentary on the events of the bible. Take advantage of this God inspired gift to the church and you’ll help your members gain valuable lessons and insight into spiritual truths.
Find a relevant biblical story this week and research everything you can about it. Pay close attention to those details that provide the fabric of the story. What was the physical layout of the setting? Who were in attendance? What was their mood? What significant events may have been going on at that time?
Use all of the above to paint the scene of your story and then allow your class to share what lessons they find in it. You’ll find that a simple, well-told story will go a long way towards stimulating a great discussion.