On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the first annual Inland Northwest Christian Writers conference in Spokane, Washington. The general sessions, with keynote speaker Jim Rubart, were inspiring, and the workshops offered valuable information. Since sharing the 40+ pages of notes I took at the conference isn’t very practical, I decided to share some of the information from just one workshop.
“Sitting with the Master” was presented by Mick Silva, former acquisitions editor for WaterBrook Multnomah and current freelance consultant and editor. Mr. Silva’s workshop gave me a new perspective on storytelling by reminding me about the Master Storyteller.
God could’ve focused on the mechanics of His creation and His plan, but instead he used story. The Bible isn’t just a bunch of utilitarian information, it is a beautiful love story, and like His father, Jesus valued beauty. He taught in stories. Parables actually; 46 of them. He was the ultimate storyteller.
Here are the 5 things we can learn from The Master Storyteller about writing:
1.) He made truth visible: “God came to dwell with His people because of His great love for them.” This was the message Jesus brought, and it was so important that He used storytelling to convey it.
2.) He deeply understood metaphor: A metaphor is a word picture that carries a deeper truth. Jesus used everyday items, common to the people, to teach them deeper spiritual truths using metaphorical illustrations.
3.) He was a true observer: Jesus watched and listened to people to reveal the deeper truth. He didn’t officially begin His ministry until well into adulthood, giving Him plenty of time to study human nature.
4.) He knew his audience: Jesus came to seek and save the lost. His audience was the lost, and His message was salvation.
5.) He knew God and Scripture: The foundation of all of his most compelling stories was Scripture. He often slipped away to pray. He looked to His father for strength and for direction.
As followers of Christ, we should seek to be like Him. As writers, we can seek to be like Him and write stories that further His message. As we hone our craft and tell our stories, we must follow His example, especially when it comes to our source for inspiration. We need to spend time listening to our Father. We must turn off distractions and “seek the source,” and He will show up.
And if we listen to Him, He will help us to know Him, to know our audience, and to make the truth visible to them. Thank you, Mr. Silva, for the awesome workshop!
By the way, next year’s conference is already on the books. It will be held on Saturday, March 17, and possibly some Friday night activities will be added as well. The keynote speaker will be Tracie Peterson, so get it on your calendar right now, and plan to be in Spokane, Washington in March, 2012!
~Heidi Larson Geis