Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling by John Huckins

We live in a story-saturated culture. People listen to stories, tell stories, and watch stories. How people see the world is often shaped by the stories we embrace. They're inherently influential, and because of that, they're an inherently powerful way to communicate life-changing truth. Jesus used stories and metaphors to communicate truth, and the Bible is one long narrative that communicates the most important truths God wanted to deliver to us.

Teenagers especially are shaped by our story-driven world, so Jon Huckins has written a great book on utilizing the power of story to communicate the life-changing truths of the Bible to teenagers called TEACHING THROUGH THE ART OF STORYTELLING. As I read this book, it reminded me that this is something I've been doing foe years in my own experience with student ministry.

Huckins does a great of showing why storytelling is important as a teaching strategy and walks us through the parable of the Good Samaritan to show us how Jesus used stories to communicate truth. He then walks us through the practical steps of how to develop our own stories, keeping our specific students in mind the whole time. Several of Huckins' own stories are included in the back of the book.

I love the idea of using stories to help make biblical truth a little more concrete in the minds of our students. I've been writing shorts stories as a small part of my message for several years, and it always seems to help. The only caution I would have for someone reading this book is to not get so caught up in the use of storytelling that we let our own stories replace students' interaction with the actual text of the Bible. Huckins talks about using the stories as a launching pad for discussion and even encourages the use of the Bible within the stories. It seems the author envisions discussion time being more about discussing the biblical text the story is illustrating, and this seems to be a great idea.

TEACHING THROUGH THE ART OF STORYTELLING is a great introduction for anyone working with teenagers who wants to learn how to craft compelling stories that illustrate the biblical truths they are teaching on.

I received this book for free for review from Zondervan.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to read and reflect on my book, Tom! You offered great insight and a compelling synopsis. Cheers, jon

  2. My pleasure. I always love a good about the impact of storytelling.