If you frequent libraries and bookstores, chances are you and your children have enjoyed a story teller. A good story teller can transport you and your child to all sorts of fictional places. Often you leave feeling as if you have actually experienced the event.
I couldn’t wait to read The Art of Story Telling by John Walsh. Walsh is a Christian story teller who discovered something amazing. The Bible is full of wonderful true stories. In fact, about 75% of the Bible is comprised of stories (the rest is poetry and instructions).
Historically, Christian story tellers have taken Bible stories and added their own touches of assumed sights, sounds and emotions. Walsh spent a lot of time studying storytelling, especially as done by many missionaries. He found the Bible stories were wonderful almost exactly as written (he sometimes deletes details like long lists of names). More importantly, God gave us the stories that have the power to change lives.
During his research, Walsh discovered most Christians today become Christians by the age of twelve. He found that puzzling, as in the New Testament many adults were converted. Suddenly the light dawned. Age twelve is when most churches turn from teaching the stories in the Bible to giving didactic lectures about godly principles. He also realized many Christians could tell you some godly principles, but rarely understood or knew the stories connected to them.
Walsh’s book begins as a tutorial on story telling. It can be used by individuals, but is probably more effective when used as a manual for a group of people to learn storytelling together. The instructions are clear and are followed by exercises for the reader to perform to practice the new skills. My only wish was that Walsh actually showed how a story started and how he evolved it through the process. I would have loved a concrete example to reassure me I was understanding his instructions properly.
I would encourage every Christian parent to grab this book and practice telling God’s stories to your children. Kids make great audiences. They love having their parents tell them any story. What better stories to share than the true ones from the Bible? Walsh even has a free online resource where readers can access the written Bible stories he uses.
Once you are telling Bible stories, I would also encourage parents to share their family faith stories with your children. This may require a little more practice, but according to Walsh, everyone has the ability to tell a captivating story.
This is a great book and I plan to try storytelling with some teens this week. According to Walsh’s research, it will help them connect back to the Bible in more meaningful ways than a typical teen class model. I will add a comment to this post next week to let you know what happens. I would love for you to share your experiences telling children and teens the stories from the Bible in a more intentional way.
This book was provided to me for free by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I loved this book and can’t wait to start practicing its tips in meaningful ways.