Outreach Strategies

Telling The Gospel With Story

Learn how to tell stories to illustrate the gospel.

Stories from "The Compass," compiled Katie Croft

We want to be good communicators of the message of Jesus Christ. But sometimes, even the most skillful presentation fails to connect.

This is where stories can help. They illustrate and simplify spiritual truths.

The following stories will help you communicate the principles of the gospel in a memorable way. Thoughtfully read the illustrations; memorizing them will add another skill to your spiritual toolbox.

How Death Shows Love


The following illustration seeks to inject meaning into what is, for many, an empty phrase: “Jesus died to show that He loved us.” Almost everyone would agree with that, but few have thought through what it means.

Do you know why Jesus had to die? What was the point of his death?

[Let your listener respond. They may say something like, “I don’t know” or “to pay for our sins” or “to show He loves us.”]

Many people say Jesus died to show how much he loved us. But how does his death show love?

Do you have a spouse/mother? Do you love her?

Let’s say you want to show her the full extent of your love, so you go to visit her this weekend and you tell her, “i love you. But i want to show you how much.” Then you drink a shot of poison, killing yourself. What is she thinking at this point?

[Your listener might respond, “That would be psycho.”]

Yes, that doesn’t show love; it’s insanity. So, give me a scenario in which you could die on purpose, but it would really show love for her.

[Allow your listener to suggest a scenario: Just before a car hits her, you jump in the way, push her to safety and get hit. Or, you fight a bad guy to rescue her and die in the process.]

We could come up with a hundred different scenarios, but the consistent thing in each of them would be that, in each case, in order for your death to show love, not insanity, your loved one would have to be in some sort of danger.

It seems that the principle is that death only shows love when the beloved is in grave danger.

If death only shows love when the beloved is in grave danger, and Jesus’ death shows love, what must that mean about our predicament?

[Wait for your listener to identify that we are in danger.]

What are we in danger of? What car was He jumping in front of on our behalf?

[Let your listener respond. Read Romans 6:23 together. Consider a transition to How to Know God Personally.]

Faith over Niagara Falls


The following story is likely more legend than fact, although based on a real tightrope walker who did cross the niagara falls. Stories about French aerialist “The Great Blondin” have been employed as an analogy over the last several decades of evangelism to demonstrate that faith involves trust. Here’s the story:

A famous tightrope walker strung a wire from one side of the Niagara Falls to the other.

A crowd gathered to watch him attempt this deadly walk.

The silent tension turned to cheers as they watched him walk out, turn and come back.

He asked the crowd, “How many believe that I can walk to the other side and back while pushing a wheelbarrow?”

They shouted, “We believe, we believe!”

The tightropewalker did in fact walk out and back with a wheelbarrow. Upon his return, he asked, “Who believes I could push a man in this wheelbarrow while walking out and back on the wire?”

Again the crowd responded with enthusiastic affirmation.

“Very well, then,” he asked, “Who would like to get in?” The crowd fell silent.

Trusting Christ is not simply assenting to the facts of the gospel message. There is a decision that implies actually getting into the wheelbarrow.

Are you in the crowd or in the wheelbarrow? Spiritually speaking, what do you think it takes to apply this to Jesus?

[Let your listener respond. Consider a transition to How to Know God Personally.]

Adapted with permission from The Compass, ©2007-2010 Cru. For more, visit http://crupress.campuscrusadeforchrist.com/green.

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