Convocation Speaker Reminds Us Why Storytelling Endures

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Convocation Speaker Reminds Us Why Storytelling Endures

By Carla Morris

Jeff BarkerSome authors merely explain their expertise from behind a podium; Jeff Barker demonstrates it by commanding the stage.

Greenville University’s 2018 Convocation speaker, storyteller extraordinaire Jeff Barker, is the author of The Storytelling Church: Reclaiming the Role of Story in Worship (Parson’s Porch Books, 2011).

It is no surprise that he used stories to open G.U.’s school year, but surprise followed surprise in the way his two tales unfolded.

Barker dignifies the art of storytelling in part by masterfully weaving an unexpected worshipful thread throughout.

Barker ’76 chairs the Theatre Department at Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa) and was named Iowa’s Professor of the Year in 2006. He also teaches in the doctoral program at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. His Amazon author page says that he is “passionate about Christian worship, especially about reclaiming the excellent presentation of the Bible within worship.” Students, faculty, staff and guests who packed the auditorium in Whitlock Music Center Monday morning would confirm that’s true.

Click below to view Greenville University’s 2018 Convocation service. Listen especially for Barker’s choice of language to tell a Jesus story, recollection of his penniless days in Greenville and the surprising connection at a photo shoot decades later that revealed much about God’s work and ways.

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Learn More

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ENCORE: The Spotlight Shines on Factory Theatre Alumni

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This story was published on August 28, 2018

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