The Importance of Story in our Generation

One of the best ways to reach this generation is story. Nevermind that story was one of the main methods of Christ in the 1st century. The millenial generation today is moved by story. 

In this Teen Decade (2013-2019), a decade that only happens once in a century, story is a necessity. By story I mean the retelling of the Gospel in the language of the day. Contextualization. Incarnational ministry. Here are 4 rules to create story to reach this youth generation:

preaching in a postmodern culture

rule #1…don’t engage listeners and neutralize the story

The story is powerful. There are three dangers of not doing story.  First, we can lose our confidence in God’s word with cute prose.  Second, we can lessen the effect of God’s word to bring change.  And finally, we take a pragmatic approach that negates the supernatural.  if we know the right switches to flip, we are tempted to reduce preaching to an art-form.

rule #2…follow the rules of effective communication

Here are several practical ways to take barriers away from this awesome message you have put together:  If your style is larger than the story…they will see you and not the story.  If your language is more impressive than the story…they will listen to you but they will not hear the story.  If you are short on creativity you are missing the story of God.

rule #3…risk getting involved with the audience

We must enter the listener’s world of thinking with genuineness. A listener will become involved if they sense we are concerned about them. Sharing our story in relation to God's story brings immediate connection. There is a wall between leadership and followers that must be removed…by leadership! What is our perceived attitude toward the listener’s world? Our story must be similar to their story. Internet, magazine, newspaper, documentaries, and real-life searches will acquaint you with our culture.

rule #4…address the real world and the biblical one

Real story is a two way connection between the 1st century and the 21st century. It is historical content (1st century) in the context of history (21st century). How can we best connect the two worlds in their mind? Story! The world Jesus lived in must become familiar to our audience as they listen to us. Parabolic preaching is powerful.  It takes time and resources to connect yourself to the story of both world, but, it was how Christ communicated to His generation. It is more important to be relative than to be relevant. Relative is relationship and connection to a culture. Relevance is merely understanding the information of a culture.
If you want to reach this generation, you will do whatever it takes. I believe that story is the bridge. Read stories and listen to great story tellers. Read through the parables. It will help you become a voice in the post-modern culture of this youth generation.


  1. Great word, Jeff! I wrote something similar yesterday:
    ~ glad to see that you're preaching in Michigan this summer -- let's catch a Tigers game!

  2. Thanks Chilly. I'll read that. And for sure. Let's check the schedule and make it happen. I have a camp before the Michigan camp for the Open Bible Eastern Region and will be in the area over a weekend possibly. Bless you.


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