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Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling: Creating Fictional Stories that Illuminate the Message of Jesus (Youth Specialties (Paperback)) Paperback – July 31, 2011
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About the Author
Jon Huckins is a veteran youth pastor and public school teacher who is now on staff with NieuCommunities, a collective of missional church communities who foster leadership and community development. After much international travel and study in the Middle East, Jon focuses much of his writing and graduate studies at Fuller Seminary on ethics and social advocacy. Further, Jon writes for Youth Specialties and loves to tell and live out new stories with teenagers. He lives in San Diego with his wife Jan, daughter and three legged dog. Contact: http://jonhuckins.net or email@example.com
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Path: Huckins outlines the teaching style of Jesus, the philosophy of story telling, and the structure of how to create a useful story. The end has several examples of his stories and then a summarization of his main points.
Sources: The author quotes individuals like N. T. Wright, Rob Bell, and Rodney Stark.
Agreement: I appreciated the author’s desire to minister to teenagers. I was encouraged by his boldness to discuss tough topics with those teenagers.
From the very beginning I was frustrated with the abundance of trendy terminology.
It seemed as thought the majority of his book focused on him.
His view of the Kingdom is weak.
Personal App: Am I interacting with others through stories? There is great communicative power in the story.
Favorite Quote: The illustration taken from one of his professors - a parable is like a puzzle. It “consists of many different pieces that come together to make one whole and comprehensive picture.”
5 out of 5 for the idea. 2 out of 5 for actual book
It isn’t worth another read but I would recommend the idea.
It's amazing that youth pastors and other spiritual teachers can spend so much time on other aspects of programming and even skill development while neglecting a serious process for storytelling. When we think about it we know that stories are what move us and inspire us. This book will help the reader value the art of storytelling and gain a new understanding and theology of storytelling as well as very practical resources and helps.
It's a wonderful book.
In my ten years as a youth pastor, the greatest success I experienced in teaching students was when I threw out the props and power point and just told God's story. Do yourself (and your youth group, Bible study, small group, children) a favor and read this book!
THE ENGLEWOOD REVIEW OF BOOKS - 19 August 2011 ]
In their new book, The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, Andrew Root and Kenda Creasy Dean argue that the youth group in churches can be a place for significant theological reflection and engagement with God's mission in the world (Watch for our review of this book in our next print issue). One of the key pieces of this task however, is introducing students to, and immersing them in, the biblical story. In this vein, comes Jon Huckins's new book Teaching Through the Art of Story Telling: Creating Fictional Stories that Illuminate the Message of Jesus. For a number of years now, Huckins has been engaging the youth of his church by telling modern day parables that spur reflection and invite students into the way of Jesus. In this new book, Huckins explains why he has been drawn to storytelling, as a compelling way of engaging the hearts and minds of the youth in his church, and he also explains how he creates and tells such stories. In the final section of the book, he provides several sample stories that he has used. Huckins's work here is refreshing in that he shows a deep understanding that humankind lives by stories and forms his practice around the ways that he has seen stories work in the teaching of Jesus, as well as in contemporary culture. He says: "There's something about stories that engage not only the mind, but also the heart. We become part of the story. We picture ourselves living out this life that's being revealed to us, and subconsciously we relate it to our own."
The narrative approach that Huckins describes here is effective for teaching youth, and I would even argue that preachers - and those who would be preachers - can learn much from Huckins's reflections that would benefit teaching those of all ages in the church. Although Huckins clearly intends this method of teaching to engage people in following in the way of Jesus, my concern with this book, as with most books that focus on "how to" methods, is that readers of the book might be tempted to be enamored with the means (i.e., the method) and not give sufficient attention to the ends. Storytelling could thus become just the latest means to propagate any of a number of culturally domesticated gospels that do not demand the sort of radical self-denial and love for God and all humanity that Jesus taught. I find Huckins's work in Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling therefore to be compelling, and recommend it with the caveat that readers should not just take it as the latest fad in teaching or preaching, but rather submit themselves to Huckins's narrating of his own work and seeing how well these ideas might be adaptable to their own contexts, be they among youth or among broader swaths of their church population.