The Power of Stories

By James Choung


I just came back from Q Los Angeles, and my brain is full of ideas and thoughts and dreams — it’ll take a month to unpack it all. But I know already what I want to do first.


I want to learn how to tell a better story.


I know the idea of stories has been around the block a few times, even in evangelical neighborhoods. But still, stories have tremendous power. The best stories tell us what the world is like, and point to how the world could be. At Q, Bobette Buster, a creative consultant to some of the biggest names in Hollywood, said that if you tell your story, then it can lead to courage and healing. But if you bottle it up, then they’re liking ticking time bombs, ready to explode in destructive ways in the world around us. We need stories to make sense of our world, and to help us picture a better one. No wonder storytelling, especially in movies, is a multi-billion dollar industry.


We need stories to live.


Now, when I talk about telling stories, I don’t just mean sitting on a stool, and weaving together a good yarn of a tale for a night at the bar. Instead, we need to know how to tell our own story — why our hearts bleeds for something — and then, embody that story. In fact, according to Howard Gardner in his book on the greatest 20th century leaders, Leading Minds, the only common trait they have is the ability to tell their story and live it out.


So if you want to lead a movement, you’ll need to be a master storyteller.


For the Christian, I want to up the ante. Nancy Duarte, communications guru and author, also taught that we all carry the greatest story ever told. We live in a greater story, a bigger story. So she challenged: can’t we just take the time to learn how to communicate it well?


Here am I. I’m clocking in.
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