There are a few people talking about the importance of storytelling these days at a time of a dramatic shift on a global scale to a more visual civilization. We can talk about how our minds are being rewired or programmed to deal with massive amounts of information and media, but the one true constant is the power of story. The power of storytelling transcends time as it used on a minute by minute basis around the world and fascinates those who are hearing the narrative – especially about other people. At it’s core, a story is about a fundamental conflict between subjective expectation and cruel reality. It’s the harmony of difference and about the resolve to work it out and come to resolution. A story unravels the highs, the lows, the difficult decisions, celebrates the accomplishments and takes it’s audience into a deeper meaning of the narrative.
Stories are effective. In 2002, Apple featured what the company referred to as “real people” who had “switched” from the Microsoft Windows platform to the Mac. The commercials were directed by the king of simplicity Errol Morris. While the spots Morris and Apple produced were distinctive they were not very effective, but they began a narrative revolution. Many companies mimicked and played off the concept of “real people” and “real stories.”
Then in 2006, Jet Blue put their spin on it and captured the stories of their customers recounting experiences in booths in cities across America; Emily Steel reported on it then in The Wall Street Journal. All together they ended up with 2000 or so video testimonials describing their airline. This campaign became highly profitable for Jet Blue in time of financial trouble after 9/11. What made this work is the people in the ads were real and individually spoke to someone like them. Admit it! We like people who are like us and they shape our experiences.
What if the church could grasp how effective stories are, every church in America would be packed right? So my question is this, how do you think the church should use the power of story to further the kingdom?