The Power of Storytelling – The Pastor Adeboye Example

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Storytelling has been with us for such a long time.
However, it’s becoming more appreciated in recent times (it deserves more appreciation though) and has been adopted by most businesses to deliver their marketing messages.
But did you know pastors also use storytelling to pass their messages across? Did you?
Read on to see what lessons we can pick from the renowned man of God, Pastor Adeboye.

So I went to church the other day – online. That’s thanks to the stay at home order by the federal government due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have to confess it’s the first time in a while I was in church. I had not gone to church long before the pandemic. Well, that’s not a story for today (or this platform). I’m here to show you the power of storytelling, not to bore you with my religious struggle.

The service was on Redeemed Christian Church of God Youtube page. I was late so I didn’t get to watch it live. In all honesty, I liked that because I could fast forward to what I really went there for – Pastor Adeboye’s message.

Anyone who watched the service that day (April 26th) would recall the sermon was about Power. Oh, wait, Power? And I’m here to talk about Power too. This is the kind of coincidence I like.

So while he was preaching, the man of God made several references to stories in the Bible and real-life experiences. He did not just read out the Bible stories, he told them again making them a lot more relatable.

An example was linking two books of the bible to show their connection (something you wouldn’t have noticed ordinarily).

At a point, he said, few weeks earlier... That information was not spelt out in the bible but he had to include it because he wasn’t just rehashing the story as it is in the Bible, he was telling his own story to his audience.

Not to talk of the bicycle vs motorcycle illustration. How riding a bicycle from Lagos to Ibadan would take more time and cost you lots of sweat. But on the other hand, the same distance with a motorcycle would take a shorter time and you wouldn’t even break a sweat.

Just a simple, but highly effective story to drive home the importance of power.

While the message that day was really soul-lifting for me as a Christian, what stuck to me most that day was how storytelling was effectively used by the preacher.

I Went Back in Time

Like Barry Allen (or Flash if you like), I travelled many years back in time. No, not to go discuss how to fight a monster with my doppelganger on earth 2. Nah. But rather, to look for patterns from years before. Those little details I may have missed.

Source: GIPHY

So I went back to my many years in church. I pulled out the archives of all the Pastors I’ve ever listened to. I sorted them into two categories – the ones I enjoyed listening to and the others who always keep the ushers busy.

What I found was astonishing. Virtually all the pastors I enjoyed listening to had one thing in common – they all told stories.

And trust me I’ve been to many churches. Mostly Baptist and Redeemed though, but different branches cutting across Lagos, Ogun, Nasarawa, Abuja, Cross River and Plateau.

By the Way…

I’m not in any way underestimating the power of anointing and spiritual gifts. No, far from it. If anything, I’m making a case for their significant role in all of these. In other words, we can say the pastors who effectively used storytelling do so with the spiritual gift of oratory among other gifts.

No doubt about it, the best speakers are good storytellers. The best writers are good storytellers. The best leaders are good storytellers. The best teachers and trainers and coaches are good storytellers. It might even be argued that the best parents are good storytellers.

Rodger Dean Duncan, Forbes CONTRIBUTOR

Well, yeah, we can say that. But that’s not really the point I want to make here. Rather my point is, even men of God recognize the power of storytelling and they effectively use it in communicating their message to their audience. But there is you somewhere thinking storytelling is a joking stuff.

Source: GIPHY

Talking about joking stuff, why are jokes funny? Why do you remember the adverts you remember? Why do you enjoy listening to some people and others bore you? Why did our grandparents pass moral lessons through folklore stories?

The greatest speech ever delivered was the I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King. What do you think made it so powerful?

The answer to all of the above questions is simply storytelling. For instance, one of Martin Luther Kings’ dreams was

…one day…little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

Martin luther king jr.

You know he could have just said “one day there will be equality in America” and he would still be passing the same message. But no, he chose to describe it so the people can visualize it. He chose to tell a story.

Just take a moment to imagine the mental picture this created in the minds of the people at the March on Washington in 1963. Now that is the power of storytelling.

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