An author is a storyteller, a wordsmith who uses the written word (as opposed to the spoken word) to communicate with readers, to stimulate their imagination and understanding.

Oral storytelling is an ancient art form using the spoken word to teach and/or entertain. It’s a means of passing down history, culture, and morality to the next generation. Some stories are funny, or just fun.

According to the National Storytelling Network, “Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.” (https://storynet.org/whatisstorytelling)

Using spoken words (or manual sign language), the words and actions of the storyteller form images in the mind of the listeners, who can then experience the story.

“God uses stories to reach people. He uses history, poetry, and narratives, short and long. He uses romance, action, mystery, and the supernatural.” (Lynn Blackburn The Write Conversation: Our Stories Matter)

In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus used storytelling to teach truth about God and His kingdom.

Sunday school and Bible club teachers are called upon to be storytellers. My training with Child Evangelism Fellowship taught me how to prepare and teach a Bible lesson using the story from God’s Word and adding appropriate applications to make the meaning clear to the children.

God has given us His Word so we can know Him, how to be saved, and how to live for Him. Teaching Bible truth to children gives me joy, but it’s a serious responsibility. I can make an oral interpretation more interesting and meaningful for the children by adding historical or cultural facts or an anecdote, but I have to be sure they don’t change God’s truth as stated in His Word.

I’ve been out of practice for a while, so when the opportunity to teach a class of four- to-six-year-olds during Vacation Bible School this summer presented itself, I hesitated. Do I remember how? Am I mentally able to fulfill the responsibility for a whole week? Will the children listen to me? Will I be patient and able to adapt to interruptions and distractions? In my heart, God told me to do it. He has given me His Holy Spirit to teach and guide me so I can teach and guide the children.

So, once again I have the joy and challenge to share God’s truth to young children through storytelling. Not “once upon a time” storytelling. That’s for fairy tales. And God’s Word is not a fairy tale.