the shape of leadership

Three Ways to Share Stories From Your Congregation

Real testimonies can add a personal element to your message

Influence Magazine on October 25, 2019

Stories have a way of connecting your listeners to your message. When you tell a story from a church member’s point of view, you can show how the sermon applies to the daily lives of those in the congregation.

It can provide a moment of humor, a bit of drama or both. But it should always support the point you are making in your message.

For instance, a sermon on healing could include a testimony from someone in your church who received a miraculous answer to prayer. An interesting story about one of your volunteers could accompany a message on serving.

You can seek permission to retell these stories in your sermon. However, sometimes it can be more meaningful to get others involved in sharing their stories, in their own words. With the right presentation, this can increase the impact and make each story more memorable. Here are three ways to let people tell their stories:

Conduct an Interview

Perhaps the simplest approach is to share the platform. One way to control the length and flow of a story is to use an interview method. At an appropriate time in the message, invite the person on stage to tell a story that impacted his or her life and pertains to your sermon.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective.

To get the best results, meet beforehand to go over what you will ask and what the person will say. If possible, invite the interview subject to the church to run through the interview on stage in front of an empty room. That way, you can iron out any issues and help the person get comfortable being on the platform.

Show a Video

Using video to share a story provides another level of control. One of the drawbacks of sharing a story live is that you may not get the result you intended. But a video allows you to cut and edit to maximum impact.

Some pastors shy away from using video because they don’t think they have the technology. However, every smartphone has a video recorder, and nearly every laptop has editing software. With a little practice, anyone can make a video worth showing in service.

Read a Letter

Another way to share a story is to read it from a letter or response card. You may not think of this as creative, but sometimes the simplest things are the most effective.

Holding the letter or card in hand can drive home the idea that this story is real and that anyone can share a story, even those who may be hesitant to get in front of an audience. Reading response cards is a good way not only to tell stories but to empower others to share theirs as well.

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