Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling: Creating Fictional Stories that Illuminate the Message of Jesus

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Publisher: Zondervan/Youth Specialties
Forward by Dan Kimball


As communicators in a culture saturated with storylines, we have the profound opportunity to invite our students into the masterful Story of God. There are a variety of ways to invite our students into this Story, but this book discusses and explores how to teach through one of Jesus’ most powerful modes of communication--fictional storytelling. Rabbinical storytelling (otherwise known as Jewish Agada) embraces the narrative of Scripture and invites its listeners into understanding and participation. Our Rabbi, Jesus, employed this mode of communication through his parables. Approaching the topic as a theologian, philosopher and artist, Jon invites and teaches how to create modern-day parables that illuminate the message of Jesus. These stories do not simply illustrate the message; they are, in fact, the message. Whether hoping to articulate deep theological concepts or relevant topics, teaching through the art of fictional storytelling has the potential to engage and invite our students into The Story.

In this book:

  • You will learn how to create your own fictional stories (modern day parables) that use a realistic setting, engaging characters and a thought provoking plot to communicate a specific topic.
  • You are given practical worksheets that offer guidance in developing such stories
  • Jon includes a variety of stories he has developed over his years of youth ministry and offers them as a resource to any youth pastor/communicator.


“Teaching the Bible through the art of storytelling is, in fact, how the Bible was originally taught—and that’s what Jon wants from us: to become master storytellers like first-century rabbis and create our own modern-day parables.

What I found fascinating about this book is that I assumed I’d encounter nothing but ideas for teaching youth; but I found myself wrapped up in its pages and receiving a personal learning experience as well. It isn’t just a collection of theories either; Jon also relates incredibly helpful real-life examples and illustrations that will stretch and challenge you as you adapt them to your own youth ministry. I’m thankful for this book—it’s a rarity in youth ministry as it has the potential of impacting not only youth but also their youth leaders.”

Dan Kimball – author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church

“Jon Huckins’ Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling is right on time for today’s busy youth worker. At a time in human history where 140 characters on Twitter is enough to maintain friendship or a Facebook status update is as good as a birthday card, we need this reminder that God expresses His story to us in long-form. Filled with both the sound biblical philosophy and practical tips, this book belongs in the backpack of every youth worker.”

Adam McLane, Youth Specialties

“As we seek to find the most helpful ways to reveal the message and mission of Jesus, locating storytelling in the center of our methods will remain of primary significance.  this book will inspire you towards firing the imagination of your youth in very reachable, experiential and practical ways.  Well done, Jon!”

Chris Folmsbee, author of A New Kind of Youth Ministry



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LISTEN: Seminar on the book @ National Youth Worker’s Convention 2010 -- Seminar MP3 & CD

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