Introduction to Story in Ministry


The next course begins February 2020. Sign up to receive notification of future course offerings here.

How well do you understand story? How well does your organization understand story? It has been said, "he who has the best story wins." But in reality, “the one who tells the best story wins.” That person wins our attention, our interest and our loyalty. As Christ followers, we have the Greatest Story Ever Told. Yet we do not always tell it well. We rob God of His glory when we do not inspire people to consider the only Narrative that gives life abundant and eternal.

This is why we want to see a movement of God's people communicating timeless truth through story leading to life-change through Jesus.

Course Description

Story in Ministry is a five-week course that teaches the essential elements of story for those seeking to better communicate the message of Christ and kingdom whether a story is oral, written or filmed.

Why We Need To Story Better

  • God is the Great Storyteller. We need to be more like Him.
  • Story is at our core, hardwired into our DNA.
  • We steal from God’s glory when we don’t tell His stories well.
  • For the sake of the Great Commission, the body of Christ must learn the art of story as it relates to evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.
  • Learning the art of story will change how we live our stories, tell stories, write stories, film stories.
  • If we don’t tell our own story well, others will tell it for us.

Who is This Course For?

  • Mission practitioners...people who are actively trying to reach and teach people in the way of Christ.
  • Creatives with a missional heart seeking to better understand the art of story.
  • Leaders of mission organizations, churches and ministries seeking to be more effective at reaching, teaching and leading.

What You'll Get From This Course

  • A grasp of how story is at the center of the cosmos. Understand the importance - and urgency - of story for ministry effectiveness.
  • Understand the core elements of story: character, problem, opposition.
  • Learn how story applies to leadership, ministry, content creation and and reaching and teaching people for Christ.
  • Experience a shift in thinking, see life and ministry through a new lens of story.
  • Connect with an expert mentor.
  • Take a story through the development process.
  • Be prepared to train others in story fundamentals.
  • Be prayed for each week by a dedicated prayer partner.
  • Qualifying students are eligible for a one-third (33%) tuition discount in a Masters or PhD program at Biola University’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies.

Course Outcomes (By Module)

1. Story Overview: Foundations

  • Know five reasons why story is powerful.
  • Be able to identify the four elements of storytelling (character, problem, opposition, resolution).

2. Character Psychology 101

  • Understand the difference between stories driven by concepts vs. stories driven by characters
  • Learn key ideas about developing a main character.
  • Learn principles for identifying stories from ministry and real life.

3. The 10 "Ones" of Storytelling

  • Know how to use the “10 ‘Ones’ of Storytelling.”

4. Three-Act Structure/The 10 Crucial Story Moments

  • Understand three-act story structure.

5. Story Pitches and Critiques

  • Selected students will concisely pitch their stories in under one minute.
  • Begin to learn how to graciously receive input from their peers.

Course Logistics

  • A five-week, mentored experience beginning Wednesday, September 18, 2019. Live sessions will be on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (UTC -7.00, use this time zone converter). Live course dates: September 18, September 25, October 2, October 9, October 16. Live sessions will be recorded for later review. To receive the course certificate, attendance at four live sessions is required.
  • One hour weekly live classroom: After registration, you will receive a link for our Zoom video conferencing service that will require a plug-in for your computer. You may also download the Zoom app from the iTunes store or Google Play for a mobile device, but we strongly recommend using a computer for the best learning experience.
  • Flipped Classroom: Some modules will have a pre-recorded lecture. It is expected that each student will have viewed the lecture prior to the live classroom. This facilitates maximum interaction with the instructor around the course material as well as with other students.
  • Two hours of independent work: (reading, videos, projects) will be expected each week for a total of 3 hours per week.
  • Web classroom: (using Haiku Learning) with materials, mentored discussion boards, and practical application assignments at each stage.
  • Cost: You can use a credit card or PayPal account. An early registration discount is available. An additional discount is available to non-Westerners. Your registration is only guaranteed once you have paid for the course. To benefit from the team discount, you must get a promotional code by emailing Carissa Sheehan (be sure to tell her which of the three categories below your team falls into). Here is the explanation of our three-tiered tuition rationale.

$260 Standard ($240 per person if two or more register together as a team).

$220 “Developing/Majority world” individuals WORKING WITH a “First-world/Minority” organization that can help cover the cost ($180 per person if two or more register together as a team).

$90 “Developing/Majority world” individuals NOT WORKING WITH a “First-world/Minority” organization. Limited to five per cohort ($50 per person if two or more register together).

An additional "early registration" discount of $20 is available to those who register and pay by September 4, 2019 (14 days before the course start date). For example, if you qualify for the standard registration of $260 but register with a teammate and register by September 4, your cost would be $200 per person.

Because we hold ourselves to a high standard, we are happy to offer a refund for anyone dissatisfied with the course. Here is our commitment to excellence.

  • Registration: The next course is scheduled for September 18, 2019. Sign up to register here.
  • Take the course as a team: The class will make the most impact if students take the course in small teams (2 or more students) to enable collaboration and immediate application in their ministry context.
  • To receive a certificate of completion:
    • Attend 4 of 5 live sessions.
    • Do the preparation reading and viewing for each module.
    • Complete all independent practice assignments for each module.