Effective Bible Teachers evaluate every story by two things.

  • Is it interesting?
  • Does it fit?

Effective Bible Teachers find stories that are compelling. They are mesmerizing. They hold interest. The mind does not wander. People don’t look at their watches. People retell the story later, at work tomorrow. I can remember stories that I heard 40 years ago and you probably can too. The brain is wired for story.

But being interesting is not enough. In fact being interesting can be distracting if it is not something else: it needs to be on target. It needs to make the point. It needs to not distract.

I have been tempted at times to use stories because they were just so incredibly interesting. I just love the story and sometimes, I pushed the story into the lesson. Effective Bible Teachers never do this. They want compelling stories, but they want compelling stories that fit the message.

We are not just storytellers. There are conventions for that—where effective storytellers get together and swap stories. That is not what Bible Teaching is about. It is about making a point. It is about communicating truth. It is about changing lives.

Where to find great stories

At the risk of sounding flagrantly self-promoting, a quick and easy way is to subscribe to my lessons, Good Questions Have Groups Talking. They are available on a subscription basis or on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

Here are some other ways:

  • sermoncentral.com I love the site. You can look up stories by text, topic, or type of story: funny stories, etc. I would encourage you to become a contributor and add your own stories.
  • Made up stories. Jesus made up stories and so should you.
  • Your own life. Every week in every lesson ask yourself, “What is a story from my own life that illustrates this point?” Balance is in order here. Not too many, not too few stories about your own life.
  • Stories from the news. This is one of the reasons—one of the many reasons—you should start your preparation early. If you know early in the week what you will be teaching on you will find stories in the news almost every week.
  • Same thing about starting preparation early.
  • Story-rich books. Effective Bible Teachers are lovers of books. They love to hang out at Barnes & Noble. Most of them have a Kindle. And all this reading provides a rich resource to find great stories to illustrate God’s truth.

Jesus never taught anything without using a story. Teach like Jesus.