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Teaching with Stories

Effective teaching through the storytelling concept.

Teaching with Stories

Let’s begin this article with a story. Once upon a time, in a distant land… Just kidding! Well, sort of. LOL.

Jenna and I noticed our place needed some new trees. The front of our house looked empty. When you look out the front window, you see my parents’ house and the county road. Downstairs in my office, there’s a door with a window. When I look out, all I see is the chicken coop and lamb pen. It’s tough to feel inspired by that view!

I asked her if she wanted to go on a date with me to Cortez in the afternoon. Cortez is just an hour away, and she enjoys going anywhere with me. She didn’t ask questions; she just said yes.

I said, “Yes, we are, but I need to go here first.” She’s amazing, responding, “Sweet, I love adventures with you.” We took a few more county roads before turning down a long-mile driveway.

Jenna and I were talking the whole time. Eventually, she asked, “Where are we going? Are you lost?” I looked at her with love and said, “No, I’m not lost. I know where we’re going, and you’ll love it.”

We arrived at the tree farm, where they grow trees for sale. She looked at me happily and asked, “Did you bring me here to choose trees for our home?”

“Yes, ma’am, I did.” We leisurely walked through rows of trees, selecting six new ones to plant in our yard later that year. They would be planted after going dormant.

In the spring, we went back, got those six great trees, brought them home, and planted them. I planted four in the front and two where I could see them from my basement office. It’s wonderful to see God’s creations growing in our yard.

Did you catch that? I got you involved in our story. I could have just said, Jenna planted some trees in our yard. Trees have to be planted when they’re not growing.

Which one makes you more interested? The best teachers often use stories. Jesus taught principles through stories, called parables in the Bible. A parable is just a simple story illustrating a moral or spiritual lesson.

The Power of Stories in Teaching

Do you use stories to teach? I use stories to teach almost everything to everyone. Some are short, like 30 seconds, and others can be over 30 minutes when I have the chance. Stories get people involved in what you’re teaching.

Take Action

Here’s what I want you to do. Try teaching something using a story. You probably already do it without realizing it. After, teach the same thing to someone else without a story. See who understands the concept faster.

Another Story Example

I might have told this story before, but it’s a great one I learned from Myron Golden, so I share it often. Recently, at a youth event, I asked for three people who had never volunteered. You can spot them because their friends help raise their hands. Those who raise their hands on their own aren’t the ones truly scared to be called on.

After that, I invited three scared kids to come on stage. They did it one by one. Holding the mic, I asked for their names. The first girl whispered, “Rebecca,” and the next one, gathering courage, said, “Rachel.”

The last one was a boy. He stood up there, avoiding eye contact, knowing what was coming. When I asked his name, he mumbled, “Sheo.” It was so quiet that I had to repeat it on the mic for everyone to hear.

After that, I took out my wallet, showing the kids on stage that I had some larger bills. I pulled out $50, $20, and $10. Then I asked if any of them wanted some of this cold, hard cash.

They all nodded yes, but none of them said anything. Then, I spread out the bills and told them, “I’m going to close my eyes, and your job is to take one bill from my hand.” So, I did just that.

What came next surprised me. NOTHING HAPPENED!!!! I mean, absolutely nothing. I could hear crickets chirping, and the other kids were shifting in their seats.

I opened my eyes, cracked a joke, and said, “Seriously, take it, or I’ll put it back in my pocket! Let’s try this again.” I closed my eyes and extended my hand.

Finally, after about 30 seconds, one girl slowly took a bill, and the other girl followed about 10 seconds later. Finally, the boy took the last bill. Since my eyes were closed, I didn’t know who took what. After feeling the last bill leave, I opened my eyes and saw them hiding the bills behind their backs (even though I never told them to hide them).

I laughed and said, “You all got a bit richer, and you’re hiding it!” Then, I asked who took the $50. The girl who raised it. I told her, “You took action first, so you get the most! Who got the $20?” The next girl held it up.

I told her, “Since you took action next, your reward is more than the person who acted last. If we wait, we only get half the reward.” Then I looked at the boy and asked, “What happened, bud?” He shrugged and looked at the floor.

I went on, “You’re twice as strong as these girls. You could’ve been the one holding the $50. But guess what? You still chose to take action! So, you were still rewarded. How do you feel now?”

His answer surprised me: “I feel like I shouldn’t have hesitated to take action. Because I hesitated, I ended up with only 1/5th of what I could have had.” Then I asked, “So, what did you learn?”

“To act instead of hesitating, especially when God encourages you, just do it!” You see, I could have just told this story to the youth, but would they have understood the importance of taking action? Definitely not!

I could’ve just told you that I gave kids money to show the importance of taking action. But would you have actually wanted to try this and see if others would take action? Definitely not!


Do you understand why teaching with stories is important? Now, go out there, take action, and start teaching with stories.

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