What’s the best way to get a discussion going? I think the best way to get people talking is to tell a story. Especially one that only has most of the pieces…in the way that the best movies don’t neatly wrap things up at the end. They leave you talking as you walk out to your car.
Lost had a huge impact on the culture, grabbed a massive fan base, because it told a compelling story. Each week was a wild free-for-all that wrenched the audience back and forth, from the present to the past, back to the present, and even fast-forwarded into the future. Always packed with what might be clues, or complete red herrings.
Jesus used stories, you know. In fact, at the end of a long series of stories that Jesus told the crowds while sitting in a boat, Matthew 13:34-35 notes, “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: ‘I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.'”
Jesus didn’t say anything to them “without using a parable.” Hmmm. Story-driven.
Tripped across a great interview that Gordon Marcy did with Shane Sooter, Artistic Director and President of City on a Hill Productions about the power of story-driven visual media. I highly recommend that you take the time to read the interview. And to watch a short video that Sooter developed called, “Our Mission Field.”
One of the reasons that I’m so high on small group studies like those being produced by Liquid and City on a Hill (H2O, The Jesus Experience, Not a Fan, etc.) and story-driven testimonies like those mentioned in this post on the Collide Magazine blog is that I am absolutely convinced that story-driven visual media will be required to reach the widening 60% that will never come to church.