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Telling the Gospel Through Story: Evangelism That Keeps Hearers Wanting More Paperback – June 14, 2012
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"Dillon's easy-to-implement instruction is a helpful resource for the reader wanting to experience the power of story. Her work offers the storying movement and the church a valuable medium to communicate with." (Mark W. Overstreet, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, April 2013)
"This wonderful 'how to' book is not merely a brief introduction to storytelling, but is an in-depth biblical and practical study of this important subject. Regardless of your present approach to evangelism, you will find this book to be a significant help as you have the opportunity to introduce others to Jesus Christ." (Paul Cedar, Outreach Magazine, "Resources of the Year" issue, March/April 2013)
"This is a must-read for the beginner, as well as those already involved in storytelling as a way of sharing the gospel. I highly recommend it." (Skip Holman, Baptist Standard, November 19, 2012)
"Telling the Gospel Through Story provides a fresh approach to all who take evangelism seriously and seek proficiency at making Christ known." (Jerry Root, Christianity Today, July/August 2012)
"There are many subjects that can be discussed and understood at primarily an academic level. Orality is not one of them. Christine Dillon understands this distinction and has treated the topic of storying in a practical and hands-on fashion in Telling the Gospel Through Story. Her journey into orality has been bumpy, like my own, and has been hammered out through years of both firsthand experience and hosting training seminars in numerous contexts. One sentence in the book sums up her overall philosophy: 'Nothing beats hearing the stories being told in a real situation.' I appreciate her willingness to glean from other practitioners and even to plug the approach that has most resonated with me personally--Simply The Story. If you find that the exegetical tool in your communication tool belt is like Thor's hammer, but your narrative communication is more like a pair of tweezers, then this is the book for you." (Dr. Larry Dinkins, Th.M., Ph.D., OMF International missionary to Thailand for 32 years)
"Christine has given us a most welcome introduction and primer in her book Telling the Gospel Through Story. While her context is crosscultural, she makes a strong case for pastors and evangelists everywhere to understand the importance of, and the ways and means to share, biblical narratives. This book will be helpful in all gospel preaching and homiletics in general." (Lon Allison, executive director, Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College)
"We live by stories. Family stories. Celebrities' stories. Historical stories. Something happens. And then--? We stop to listen. We can't help it. The story pulls us in. Much of God's revelation is story. People act, but even before that, God acts. Christine Dillon knows the power of God's never-ending story. In this book she shows us how to tell it so as to transmit truth that will transform the listeners." (Miriam Adeney, author of Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity)
"This is an excellent book that I would encourage all serious Christians to read. Using moving stories, Christine shares insights she has learned about telling (gospel) stories effectively. She answers the questions that will come to the reader's mind. Christine is honest that this method will not cause all to come to Christ, but the method may have the best chance of people hearing the whole story and wanting more. I will be recommending this book for all our workers, both new and experienced." (Richard Schlitt, deputy general director, OMF)
"Human beings make sense of our lives through stories. Yet all too often when it comes to evangelism, Christians offer some abstract theological propositions for people to agree with or not, rather than inviting them to enter the Story the Bible is narrating. Christine Dillon calls us to recapture the beauty, power and mystery of storying the gospel, and does so with the wisdom of a practitioner." (Sean Gladding, author of The Story of God, the Story of Us)
"I appreciate Christine Dillon's knowledge and experience of using storytelling in evangelism. Many people love to talk about 'orality' and theorize on how and why it should work. Christine learned the concepts of storytelling and immediately started using them. Over the years, she has had to improve her skills, change her approach and develop her methods. This ongoing process has been key in her success. Now she has written down what she has learned. This is a must-read for those wanting to develop these same skills." (John Walsh, president, Christian Storytelling Network)
About the Author
Christine Dillon works as a church planter in Taiwan with OMF International. She has been a missionary there for the past twelve years, but lived in Asia as a child while her parents were missionaries as well. The prevalent belief system in Dillon's area is ancestor and idol worship with only .8% of the population being christian. Her evangelism approach consists of storying, discipling, and training of locals and other missionaries. Dillon previously published 1-2-1 Discipleship in 2009 (Christian Focus).
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After explaining the benefits and biblical basis of storying, the author goes on to explain how to select suitable stories from the Bible and how to prepare stories from the biblical text. Because storying creates a high degree of engagement between the listeners and the narrative, it serves well as a basis for interactive learning, and if used with appropriate questions can lead to vigorous and perceptive discussion of the key issues.
Many forms of evangelism rely on the evangelist having a highly developed skill set, and this often causes ordinary Christians to despair of their ability ever to become effective evangelists. Storying, on the other hand, is an activity which everyone engages in to some extent, and it is a skill which can easily be worked on even by people who have no literacy skills. This makes it a very attainable and reproducible evangelistic technique.
The book naturally made me curious as to what a story as envisaged by the author might sound like. The book itself does not contain example stories because, as the author asserts, storying is an oral communication form, not a written one. Videos of example stories can be accessed through the author's website StoryingTheScriptures, and these should give the viewer confidence that a smooth and polished presentation is completely unnecessary for engaging storytelling.
In my opinion this book is one of the most effective resources on evangelism that I have ever encountered, and I highly recommend it.
The book starts by providing the reader with the reasoning behind the use of storying. There is nothing really new here for those familiar with storying, but it is definitely something that those new to storying may find interesting.
Dillion quickly addresses the main questions that many readers will need to consider while choosing and preparing stories. Understanding the worldview of those whom one intends to the share the stories with is a critical part of the preparation process. Other resources may be needed to actually help one work through that discovery process, but Dillion does a good job of showing the reader how that impacts what stories are chosen. According to the author, one should then select stories that challenge those beliefs and reveal God's glory.
After discussing how to craft stories and sets of stories, Dillion addresses one the most difficult parts of storying. How to facilitate discussion and actually use the stories effectively in shaping a change in worldview is every much an art as crafting the stories themselves. I thought Dillon did a good job addressing the topic, and provides the reader some excellent tools to help in that area.
The final two parts of the book address training others to become storytellers, and adapting stories for specific context. Storying can be used evangelistically and for discipleship, and the book provides several things to consider in each context.
As previously mention, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in understanding the basic concepts of storying. There are many examples and illustrations that are very useful, especially for those in cross-cultural ministry.
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