Stubborn Perseverance

Hook Stories

Referenced in Appendix C: Adapting with the Culture

We are finding the younger generation less interested in the prophets and more interested in what helps them live better. This suggests a fourth place to begin the storying sequence: “hook” stories—biblical stories involving felt needs—which serve as a bridge for inviting others to study the prophets stories.

Individual stories can be useful in casual interaction for discovering spiritual interest, and inviting a group to discuss a set of 3–6 stories on a given theme relating to worry, stress, fear, marriage, trauma, communication, relationships, environment, etc.

After the group becomes familiar with the study pattern, they may be open to any of the 3 starting points in the diagram above: the first prophet story, the ninth prophet story, or Creation to Christ (Sacrifice/Gospel Summary).

In crafting “hook” stories, choose stories relevant to those you are led to reach. For refugees—who have experienced trauma, lost material possessions/societal status and face a very dark future—select stories showing God’s help in times of displacement and crisis. If they show little initial interest in God’s message through the prophets, start by inviting them to discover with you how God provides help in times of displacement and crisis. Keep the story set short (especially with refugees that may leave soon), and include enough to reveal God’s invitation to experience new life in Jesus.

Christine Dillon offers this approach:

I asked a group of fisherman, “Did you ever experience a typhoon?” After discussing their experiences I asked, “Did you ever see the wind and waves obey someone telling them to calm down?” “Of course not,” they said.

“Let me tell you a story about a group of fisherman. One day a man was in a boat with his fisherman friends. He lay down and slept while the fisherman sailed on familiar waters. Suddenly a huge storm came up and they thought they would drown. They woke their friend and said, ‘Don’t you care that we are about to drown?’ The man stood and said to the wind and waves, ‘Be calm!’ And suddenly they were. The fisherman were terrified and said, ‘Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?’ ”

I closed by saying, “I have more stories that explain who this man is. Let me know when your hearts are ready to hear these stories.” Several weeks later they said they were ready, and so we started through a Bible overview set.