Storytelling immerses the listener into the panorama of the Bible with an enormous effect if it’s done right. You don’t have to be a natural-born ham or a professional to tell an unforgettable story. Before your next class or session, review these storytelling tips. You can bring the Bible to life with a few adjustments!
1. Know the story backwards and forwards. Personally, I find it distracting to see someone peek at their notes during a storytelling session but that doesn’t mean you can’t. I recommend knowing the story from beginning to end without relying on notes or use smaller index cards to keep yourself on point. Even if it’s a familiar story you should read it once a day until it’s time to present the story. It’s amazing how easy it is “misremember” details.
2. Leave yourself out of it. Biblical storytelling is more powerful when you leave yourself out of it. Don’t get into expressing your opinion or explaining what the story means to you. Allow your kids to enjoy the word picture you are painting without interruption.
3. Don’t back track. Forget a detail? Don’t try to go backwards in your narration. You’ll have to think quick! Is it important or just a superfluous extra bit of information? If you deem it crucial, add the information during the narration with a lead in like, “You see, Goliath was a giant who towered over all the people, including the Israelites…” Avoid admitting you forgot something. That’s distracting.
4. Provide descriptions. If you don’t know it was a bright and sunny day when Jonah stepped on board the ship, don’t tell it. However, you can honestly describe what the boat felt like when it rocked and rolled on the water. Descriptive passages really help kids “go there” and appreciate the drama of the Bible.
5. Draw the crowd together. If you have an audience in scattered seats, it’s harder to pull in the listener. Bring the kids together in a central seating area and then let the story come to life. Drawing the kids together really works!
6. Repeat words and phrases. When kids hear you repeat a phrase, they listen! Repetition creates continuity and familiarity with the story. For example, when telling the creation story use repetitive sentences like, “And God said, ‘It is good!” This phrase highlights a few things. God created the world in six days, rested for one and God declared His creation was good!
7. Use props effectively. I love props but sometimes I can get carried away. When choosing props for a storytelling session choose wisely. Will your prop selection distract from your story or help you tell it? Will kids understand the story better or will the prop confuse them?
Make your next Biblical storytelling session unforgettable and impact a child forever!