Skill Builders

Home > Skill Builders

How to Tell a Great Story

The purposes of the beginning, middle, and end

See theme

To tell stories well (biblical stories or otherwise), make sure they have a beginning, middle, and end. This is especially true of the lean stories, lasting from one to five minutes, that we normally use in sermons. Each part — beginning, middle, and end — is essential, each different in purpose.


The beginnings of lean stories have three fundamental purposes.

1. Orient hearers. We must provide a minimum of information that sets the story in time and place. Who are the people that begin the story? Where and when is the story happening?

When hearers get insufficient information, they are distracted and often frustrated. They won't fully follow the story or appreciate the story's resolution (Ever see the first Mission Impossible movie?).

However, too much information bogs the story, diminishes interest, and frustrates hearers. Give no more information than necessary. From beginning to end, a story needs movement.

"Jesus said: 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to ...

skill builder Preview

This skill builder is available to subscribers only.

To continue reading:

Rating & Reviews

Average User Rating: Not rated

No comments

Please to rate and review this skill builder. Or subscribe now for full access.

Related articles

Connect Hearers through Dialogue

A two-way street can be paved with gold.
Don Sunukjian


An interview with Don Sunukjian

Advanced Storytelling

Techniques for increasing the power of Storytelling

More articles

Print this pageShopping CartHelpMy Account