Thursday, September 22, 2016

D6 Breakouts: Digital Storytelling for Today's Kids

D6 Breakout Notes:

Digital Storytelling for Today’s Kids, Matt Guevara

Matt Guevara is a veteran children's and family ministry leader, the author of 11 Ways to Share the Gospel with Digital Natives and is the Executive Director of INCM. In this breakout Matt explores storytelling principles and tools we can leverage to powerfully share God's Word in the ways kids naturally learn.

We are wired for story.  Story is part of God’s imprint upon us.  Story is how He revealed Himself to you and me.

Why does today’s generation need a different type of storytelling?  They are different than you and me. Their brains are fundamentally different in the way they adopt and receive information.

We need to adapt and adjust how we story-tell to make learning fun and more relevant to their world.  

We need to teach less step-by-step and lean into more story.

There’s a profound difference between a story and a report.  A report is a list of things that happen in a linear sequence.  A story is sharing the highs and lows of a character, so much movement and depth to a story.


1. Connect with your audience.

Think about the audience you’re going to be telling that story to.  What do they enjoy?  What do they respond to?  How do they take in information? Don't just consider the way you enjoy teaching.

When you teach the way your audience learns you will earn their trust.

Check out Marc Prensky's Education to Better their World.

2. Lure learners in.  

Start your story with a bang. Often Sunday morning is the most predictable time of the week.  Change it up!

Choose an image that’s exciting and attractive, use descriptive language, drop the audience into the middle of the action.

You are sharing the story of the God who loves His people and who gave everything He had for them.

If you want to tell compelling stories, rehearsal is critical.  We can’t play fast and loose with God’s word.  If rehearsing the story isn’t a part of your regular rhythm, it needs to be.  Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Strive for Simplicity.  Stories are distillations.  The more you strip away the non-essential things, the more you can tell a better story.  Kids communicate with emojis.  What could be simpler than that?  

Simplify the flow of the story!  A child shouldn’t have to get to the 5th, 6th or 7th part of the story to get to what you’re talking about.  If you can stick to the story, then the simplicity piece will shine through. 

3. Lead with authenticity.  
Tell the story as if you’re telling it to a friend.  This is THE story you’re talking about, the one that changed you.  You don’t need to trump up excitement. Tell the story like you know it, not like it’s scripted.

Don’t forget to bring yourself to the story.  God has wired you in a unique way.  God’s given you experiences you can draw from.  Are you intellectual?  Are you hilarious? Lean into that. You are part of the story.

When it comes to the words we tell kids about God’s story, they stay with children for a really long time.  We are playing in wet cement.  The words we share with children about God’s word, they last.  So it’s critical to lead with authenticity. 

4. Follow the form.
Every story has a structure.  Beginning, middle and end.
We’re not preparing them to take a test, we’re helping them to know the Author of the story.  Leave misc facts aside.

5. Respond to Cues
Live storytelling is a give and take.  Let them know you are listening.  Develop mindful eyes and ears.  Are they engaged? Are they mimicking my face? Are their eyes wide or lost?

Engage interruptions.  Interruptions are tiny little gifts when telling a story.  They don't feel like it but they are.   It tells the person who interrupts that they matter and their question matters.

Next level storytelling is immersive. One of the things that fascinates today’s kids about YouTube, video games, etc is that these are immersive worlds.

Children receive through 3 gates:

  • Mind gate – the words they hear.
  • Eye gate – what the child sees as the story is told, animation, movement, props.
  • Heart gate – What’s going on inside their heart?  What is the Holy Spirit doing inside?

6. Bring your emotion to the story.
Your words are important but the way you say it will be the difference between Bueller and Braveheart.  Bring your emotion to the story. 


Matt walked through an amazing variety of simple digital tools, both apps and web-based that we can use to bring the Bible to life and engage today's kids in immersive stories.  For a complete list check out the free PDF here.

1 comment:

  1. Digital storytelling simply means the use of something digital when telling a story. In essence, digital stories are those that make use of photographs, videos, animation, sound, music, and text. Storytelling can, of course, be about the production of an existing story or creation of your own. For a child, this allows the coming together of skills they are learning in English, art & design, and computing, providing endless opportunities. Thanks for this beneficial article. Visit here for Proven Tips to Help Your Young Child Discover How to Plan and Prioritize His Time.