Thursday, January 27, 2005

by Mark Miller,
© 2003
pub. Zondervan's emergent/ys, 176 pages

Experiential Storytelling

In 148 pages of theory, inspiration, and practical instruction, Mark Miller challenges his readers to do something quite scandalous: trust the Holy Spirit to guide people to truth. Now you—like me—may be thinking, “I trust the Holy Spirit to teach,” but frankly, we teachers do an awful lot of explaining, obvious illustrating, and tidy summarizing. But God doesn’t teach that way very often. Most of the time, God took his people, plopped them in the middle of a situation, and allowed them to figure stuff out (in fact, Jesus got perturbed with his disciples when they were unable to figure stuff out). Experiential Storytelling describes the theory and practice behind the Jesus Journey, a weekend retreat where participants are plopped into the story of God and allowed to figure stuff out. Miller does not suggest—nor do I suggest—that we should eliminate didactic methods.

Having taught bible study and Sunday School for over two decades, I am not afraid to report that quite often neither I nor my students really “get it.” Learning involves mind, will, and emotion—the whole self—and type of storytelling described in Miller’s book is a learning experience that may actually be a learning experience.

If you preach or teach anyone about God, read the book, read it with your team, and then give it a whirl. That’s my plan… I’ll let you know how it goes.


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