3 Ways To Tell A Better Story

As a ministry leader, you may be seeing larger churches putting together some great promotional videos, or you see their website is very good at keeping you engaged. This happens all because of the power of storytelling. Storytelling is great ministry tool that sometimes falls by the wayside. It’s power comes from our brains inability to combat story. When you are being told a great story your brain shuts down the defensive of the reptilian brain and engages the limbic and neocortex. It’s in this part of the brain we can influence feelings, rational thought and ultimately behaviors. 

So how can I tell better stories? Here are three ways for your organization to tell better stories.

1. Invest in teaching products before you invest in gear or technology.

These teaching tools can be used over and over again. You can place them in the hands of employees or volunteers and assure learning can take place easily and quickly.

  • A good place to start for marketing departments is https://storybrand.com/online. Donald Miller has had great success in storytelling, movie making and branding. This course is a great starting point in clarifying your message.
  • Muse is a storytelling frame work developed by avid Storytellers at Still Motion. You probably have seen a wedding, documentary or commercial produced by Still Motion. Muse is an easy to understand format for film makers. Well worth the investment. http://learnstory.org/
  • If you are interested in the video side of storytelling check out Alex Buono’s Visual Storytelling http://vs2.mzed.com/. Alex is the staff cinematographer for Saturday Night Live and shows how to create virtually any style of video on a budget. *Note that the Visual Subtext Seminar has some images that may be considered offensive. Viewer discretion is advised. 

If you are looking for a free route there are some great Ted Talks and Youtube Channels that do the trick. 

2. Leverage Emotion.

There are three quick ways you can leverage emotion in most forms of storytelling.

  • Use context to drive your emotional narrative. In video this is shown in your b-roll. The additional footage you show is meant to invoke emotions of what it feels like to be there or experience your story.
  • Use color to tell a story. Do some research on color theory and use a good color palette for your presentation slides, in grading your video footage and in your social media posts.
  • Ask yourself “Am I emotionally engaged with this story?” Chances are if you feel connected to the story your audience will too.

3. Have your audience be the hero.

When you tell a story give the audience the chance to feel like they are the hero of the story. Challenge your audience or invite them to help. Story is about building community, so make sure your story is one people can rally around. Story is about inspiring change so make sure you place your audience in a place that they can take action after they hear or see your story.