How to Be A Better Storyteller

Tammy Jones —  December 20, 2010

When I was a kid it was considered rude to call someone a liar. We didn’t want to be rude – so we called them “story tellers” instead.

These days, I spend a good part of my time being a story teller. I love stories, and I love telling them to kids. I love to watch their faces as the story unfolds.  I love to gauge their reactions to the crazy props, the costumes and the faces that I make.  Storytelling is a great way to teach Biblical stories and Biblical principles.The Bible, after all, is a story.  It is God’s story, and storytelling is an effective way of helping kids to understand their part in that story.  As children’s ministers and teachers, it is important that we be able to tell a good story and tell it well.  As a storyteller, you can be as outlandish or as quiet and simple as you feel comfortable. That said, a prop or two now and then really helps to engage kids in the story.

If you don’t use storytelling in your children’s ministry and want to start, there are several good books out there to help you out. I especially liked Creative Storytelling Guide For Children’s Ministry: When All Your Brain Wants To Do Is Fly by Steven James.  Something else to consider if you want to get better at storytelling is taking a Simply the Story workshop. This is part of the “God’s Story Project.” After completing their workshop, you will be able to take any story directly from the Bible and lead an inductive Bible study on the spot.  The workshop  is easliy adaptable for use in children’s ministry.

If you don’t see yourself as a storyteller, there are other options for teaching kids.  Read a good book or a scripture passage aloud. Read it with some passion and incorporate a couple of voices to help bring the story alive for the kids.  Make sure that, if you go this route though, you do it well.  Practice before you read the book to the class. Practice is recommended for storytellers too!

I recently attended a workshop hosted by Tina Houser. She used a few simple props to illustrate a story. Then she used the same props to let the kids play a story sequencing relay game. What a great way to reinforce the Bible story and make it stick in their minds!

So c’mon! Be a storyteller. You won’t get in trouble, I promise.

How do you use storytelling in your ministry?  What techniques have you found that work well when it comes to telling a story?  What doesn’t work?

Tammy Jones

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Tammy is married with two grown children and has 5 grandchildren and counting. Tammy volunteers as the Children's Minister at CoveCreek Baptist Church in Glencoe, Alabama, where she ministers to children from preschool age through sixth grade.

5 responses to How to Be A Better Storyteller

  1. I love this! Great post! I will definitely be picking up the resources you listed. if you have anymore please let me know. I also love to tell stories. I need resources for volunteers as well.

  2. I found a sereis of training videos on VHS at a local thrift store by Pastor Willie George of Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. He is teaching on telling stories on one of the videos. It is great! I am not sure if they are available or not still.
    Another good source of inspiration is “Imagine: Creating Memorable Characters for Kid’s Church” by Marty Martin. His main goal is to help you create some characters, but he really inspired me to become the main character of the story by using costumes and voices and props.
    Karl Bastian of Kidology fame has a “Kids Church Cookbook.” This is a good resource for leaders of a children’s church. He has some great videos on how to use puppets, hats, balloons, etc. that go along with the cookbook. He covers every aspect of a children’s church in this series. It is very affordable at $14.99 per installment or $11.99 for premium members of Kidology. He also has “Leadership Labs” that you can share and use to help train your volunteers.
    Hope these help. I will keep my eyes open for more resoureces and share them when I find some.

  3. One more storytelling resource that I forgot to mention is “Going Live in 3..2..1! with Creative Storytelling Techniques” by Tina Houser. This book is packed with great ideas.

  4. I’ve used the Steven James books and they are great.

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