Be a leader, share your story

Consider Jesus and the way he taught and led others. Jesus taught and related to others in story.

The importance of the parables can hardly be overestimated. They comprise a substantial part of the recorded preaching of Jesus. The parables are generally regarded by scholars as among the sayings which we can confidently ascribe to the historical Jesus; they are, for the most part, authentic words of Jesus. Moreover, all of the great themes of Jesus’ preaching are struck in the parables. Perhaps no part of the Gospels, then, can better put us into touch with the mind of Jesus Christ than the parables. They still today present us with the challenge with which Jesus encountered his hearers in first-century Palestine. These little stories (together with the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes) are the best known of all Jesus’ words. It is a measure of the value which the Church places upon them that every parable without exception occurs in the Sunday lectionary readings (www.pbs.org)

Jesus taught in story because stories are a great way to connect with others in a memorable way. We would be wise to follow his example, as leaders and teach through story.

In my first year of teaching one of the best teachers at my school gave me some advice that was invaluable, and I’ve been passing it on for more than forty years.  He said, “If you want to make a point with your students, put it into a story.  They’ll tune out a lecture, but they’ll always listen to a good story.”  All good teachers — along with good preachers, speakers, and writers — are good storytellers.  Everyone loves a good story (www.catholiceducation.org).

Relationships are essential to leading and sharing your story with others can help them to relate to you. Stories are a great way to convey lessons learned of what works and what doesn’t work. For example if you share a story about something you’ve done in business that has had a negative outcome to teach others what not to do it is better received and remembered than a set of rules.  This method also helps leaders to address problem areas without embarrassing subordinates in group settings. Sharing stories helps group cohesion and helps everyone to learn from the experiences of others.

Nathan confronted King David through story very effectively in 2 Samuel 12:

Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, “There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. “The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. “But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”

Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”

The most important story we can share with others is what God has done and is doing for us. It never ceases to amaze me how often I am encouraged by the faithful leadership and follower-ship of Christians in my life. I am humbled when in turn, they tell me that they were encouraged by me sharing my story of struggles and the faithfulness of God…often shared out of what I felt was my weakest of times and they said they were encouraged by my unwavering faith. Well, God is faithful and He has proven this many times.

References:

Bible. Retrieved 15 Apr 13 from www.biblegateway.com

Boucher, M. (1980) The Parables Retrieved 15 Apr 13 from www.pbs.org.

Urban, H. (n.d.) Lesson #1: Good teachers share one special quality Retrieved 15 Apr 13 from www.catholiceducation.org