Istoria: How to tell a compelling story


Jim Krueger is president of 26 Soldiers.

The world is an active place, brimming with almost seven billion people; the population of the Lower Mainland alone is almost 2.5 million. And every person, each one of us, has a unique story that tells who we are, what we believe, where we’ve been and where we are going.

So many people have a story to share, and so many mediums in which to say it. From books and magazines to television, and now the internet and social media, the multitude of messages might start to sound like a clamouring noise. How do we, from individuals to churches to businesses, tell our own story and be heard above the din?

Istoria is a three day conference October 3 – 5 at Coastal Church in downtown Vancouver that aims to help people engage in the power, craft and discipline of storytelling. Matt Koop, of Coastal’s web and multi-media department, says the idea for the conference came about after a re-branding process at Coastal Church a few years ago.


Braden Douglas runs Relevention Marketing Solutions.

“Branding is the art of taking a product, organization or person and surrounding it with a compelling story,” Koop explains. “If you break it down, we all have a story, we all have a message. My dad (Coastal’s senior pastor Dave Koop) had a vision to see something like this – how can we help other churches, companies, ministries or individuals get their story across.”

One of the ways to help people understand and convey their story is through an accomplished line-up of conference speakers:

Jim Krueger is an award-winning copy writer who was a creative director at Marvel Comics and has since become president of his own comic book entertainment company, 26 Soldiers. He has been named among the top 10 comic book writers.

Gordon Pennington is an international consultant whose clients have included J.P. Morgan, CBC, British Airways and Mercedes Benz. He is well known for his former work as the director of marketing at Tommy Hilfiger.

Braden Douglas is the founder and principal of Relevention Marketing Solutions, with clients including Canuck Place and Silver Hills Bakery.

Willie George is the founder and senior pastor at one of the innovative Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 


Dave Koop is senior pastor of Coastal Church

 Dave Koop is passionate about reaching high-rise communities and using the power of story in reaching culture.

 “The day sessions will cover the finer strokes of story, and the theory behind it, and the evening sessions will be the broader strokes, covering the practical things people or businesses can use in telling story,” explains Koop.

“It will help answer the questions, ‘What are you here to accomplish?’ and ‘What is the perception other people have of you?’”

Braden Douglas says story is an ancient art form, and we need to understand its effectiveness in modern times.

 “Story has been around forever, that’s how we communicated effectively for centuries. There are so many ways to communicate and use story today,” says Douglas, whose Abbotsford-based marketing firm is one of the fastest growing in the country. 

“My experience comes through a marketing perspective. Whether you’re a church, a non-profit or a business, you need to know your priorities, distribution channels and your audience. Most people are too general with their audience. Story is part of the strategy of the church, and the strategy is so critical to get people to engage with you.”

This story first appeared in The Light Magazine.

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