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									                                                                       Indeed it was like a gift the Lord had given to us

  Bible Storying
God’s Word Story by Story to Empower Every Person
                                                                  for the conference as the song basically embodied the
                                                                  paradigm of using the oral communications of songs,
                                                                  stories, drama, poetry, proverbs, etc. to tell the gospel.
Oral or Literate for Witness and Discipling Their Own             All in all 16 tribes were represented and the ‗aha‘
July, 2008     —for private circulation only—   Vol 15 No 3       moment came when I asked them to tell the stories in
                                                                  their mother tongue. I could hardly believe that they
                   YOUR STORIES                                   had never heard this before. The national language of
                                                                  Liberia is English, and most people speak what is
HAITI—On the streets of Port-Au-Prince, ―tap-tap‖                 called Liberian English but still the languages spoken
drivers entice passengers with the sounds of traditional          in the villages are Kisi, Loma, Gola, Mende, Vai,
Haitian-Creole music. ―Music is central to every part             Sapo, Kru, Bassa, Belle, etc.
of their culture,‖ says Dawn Goodwin, IMB                              And yet these pastors had been taught the only
missionary. ―There‘s no place to go to escape it.‖                language for the gospel to be communicated in was
     Recognizing the central role of music in Haitian             English and certainly it was the only one for
culture, Goodwin and her colleagues are using                     theological education. So after we did away with all of
traditional rhythms to teach chronological Bible                  that kind of thinking… WOW, talk about a conference
stories. Since 2003, IMB missionaries and national                coming ALIVE! It was already humming as I had
believers have worked to record a series of 40 Bible              divided them into groups of nine to learn and tell their
songs.                                                            assigned stories. Then as I sat in on one group I
     One way to spread the Gospel even farther than               noticed they were using Liberian English. So I asked,
missionaries can take it is to give it to Christian drivers       ―Can you tell this story in your mother tongue?‖ So the
who will play the cassettes in their vehicles. The                storyteller started telling the story in his own language
music sounds very much like music they‘re familiar                and you should have seen the smiles light up on the
with, but the words are God‘s Word.                               faces of those in his group! They were instantly filled
(                    with an intriguing joy. Right away I was back at the
                                                                  microphone and made the announcement that
HONDURAS—Recently the Maturing Field Team                         EVERYONE was to tell their story in English and IN
presented an ―introduction to Storying‖ conference in             THEIR MOTHER TONGUE. The chains were broken
La Venta for the pastors of the northern sector of                and the place was absolutely buzzing.
Olancho. It was hoped that all of the pastors were able                On both Monday and Tuesday the last sessions ran
to attend and understand how Bible Storying can reach             long, well over the scheduled time but the men and
oral learners that do not read or write.                          women who were gathered there were hungry for more
Cleve Turner Intercessors Guide                                   than the evening meal. They were hungry for God and
                                                                  how to best communicate him to their people. It was
LATIN AMERICA— Our C. friends live among the I.                   fascinating in our session on ‗worldview‘ as I told the
people. They have had good success telling the stories            groups to make a list of the cultural ‗barriers‘ that
to people struggling with alcoholism. The I. people are           stood in the way of reaching their tribe with the
very timid. Instead of asking the I. people a lot of              gospel. Then I had them list the ‗bridges‘ that are in
questions about the stories they ask the I. person to re-         their culture that might help in communicating the
tell the story to them the next time they meet. At that           gospel. And finally they were to identify any gaps their
time the I. person usually has his or her own questions           tribe might have where there was no Biblical
or comments or insights. SB                                       equivalent in their culture (such as forgiveness). After
                                                                  their discussions I had a representative from each
LIBERIA— The next morning we began by singing a                   group come up and share three barriers they had
song of Genesis 1 the Lord had given to me with a                 identified, three bridges, and one gap. They all sat with
really neat African beat. They asked again and again to           rapt attention listening to one another talk about their
sing the song during the conference and I never tired of          tribes, thoroughly benefiting from and enjoying the
singing out, ―In the beginning God created,‖ and they             session. I had no idea going into the conference this
would reply ―And God saw that it was good‖…                       topic would grab their attention as it did.
―Heaven and earth now He created‖… ―And God saw                   Rick & Laura, Kairos International
that it was good‖… ―Oceans and rivers He created‖…
―And God saw that it was good‖ with several more                  NIGER—Praise the Lord; Chronological Picture
verses outlining Gen. 1, I‘d sing a verse and they‘d              Books for the Old and New Testament are complete
sing back the refrain.                                            through Acts. We pray for the Christians in the
villages to be able to use these stories and make                they got the facts straight, to see if they know what‘s
applications to every day living. Don and Teresa Bolls           going on,‖ Hoxie explained. ―It‘s a totally oral
will be teaching these concepts.                                 culture, so telling stories, that‘s how they learn.‖
     A conference is planned for Village Storying. This               Foreign missionaries have been using storying for
conference should hopefully take Storying one step               years, Ahlen clarified, but he wants to see it used in
further – to evangelization and discipleship.                    the Western world as well. He currently works with
Zerma Team Newsletter                                            Makola to apply it in ministry with Forest Meadow‘s
                                                                 Sudanese congregation.
SOUTH ASIA—we‘ve been working on getting The                          Makola arrived from Africa trained in expository
Story recorded in the Hindi language. Final recordings           preaching. But to become a better minister to Sudanese
started recently week. Praise God that the two story-            in the Dallas area, he attended Southwestern Baptist
tellers are already training others to tell The Story and        Theological Seminary for a few weeks to learn
are starting fellowships.                                        storying.
     There are many languages that still have no                      The alternate method helps Makola communicate
Scripture. Our goal is to see The Story (a set of 20-25          the gospel more effectively to people from his own
chronological stories from the Book) recorded in those           culture. ―The culture is a storying culture. When
languages. Thomas & Danette High                                 Makola got brave enough to start telling stories, people
                                                                 would tell him they had never heard preaching with
SOUTHEAST ASIA— Our team of evangelists                          such power,‖ Ahlen insisted.
returned from their target area a few days ago with a            Baptist Standard 6/29/08
wonderful report. God had prepared the way for them
and they were able to gain access to almost all the              TANZANIA—People from four language groups in
villages we had marked out in advance. They told                 Tanzania were trained to use stories to teach biblical
Bible stories, showed gospel movies, used drama and              truths. Firstly, they discussed traditional beliefs about
preaching. During the eight week period they baptized            God/gods, Satan, spirits, man, sin, reconciliation and
285 new believers and began a discipleship/leadership            so on. To communicate biblical truths effectively, they
training program with 120 more. The goal is to train             needed to understand the listeners‘ beliefs.
leaders from among the new believers to carry on the                  Then the leader told a Swahili Bible story and
work. We are seeing the churches catch a vision to               asked questions to make sure everyone remembered
reach their own people. D&J                                      the main points. Next, they had to explain what the
                                                                 story teaches about God, man, Satan, sin, etc. Only
SUDAN—―When I was young, everything was in                       information gleaned from stories at the workshop
stories,‖ Sudanese pastor Edwin Makola recalled.                 could be used. This way they built up their own ‗oral
―The International Mission Board … and the larger                Bible‘—they knew the stories and understood the
evangelical community … discovered that orality was              meaning.
a good idea, to go back to Jesus‘ day. He taught in                   Then each one re-told the story in their own
parables. … It‘s the right thing to do in Southern               language, while the others checked that every detail
Sudan.‖                                                          was included, with nothing added. They kept closely to
      Forest Meadow Baptist Church (Dallas) Pastor               Scripture without embellishing things. They quoted
Tim Ahlen has taken groups to Southern Sudan for                 what God says in direct speech—after all, it is his
four years to evangelize, but he uses a different kind of        word! The final result sounded more natural than it
preaching than in a typical Texas Baptist church.                had been translated word-for-word.
      ―Expository preaching is meaningless to (the                    Finally, they practiced telling stories in their own
Sudanese). They walk away with the stories and the               language, with questions, discussions dramas and
illustrations—what they understand,‖ Ahlen said.                 songs.
      ―Storying‖—Ahlen‘s chosen method for reaching                   The following Sunday, one of the Sandawe
illiterate people groups—incorporates as many as 50              participants took the service in his church. Instead of
Bible stories told in chronological order to create a            using the pulpit, he sat with the congregation in a
holistic picture of God and his faithfulness.                    circle and told them a story from the workshop—in
      Church member Lori Hoxie liked the storying                Swahili, the trade language used in the churches. To
method when she went to Sudan with Forest Meadow.                his surprise, they couldn‘t answer his questions. So he
―We picked the ones we thought were the most                     re-told story—with the same result.
appropriate for the culture. We did it at different times             Then he asked one man if he understood. “Oh yes,
during the day, whenever they were available. You tell           but I can’t remember,” he explained. “It goes in one
the stories, and then you ask questions about it to see if       ear and out the other!”
    Finally, he told it in Sandawe. They all listened              deconstructing a narrative in order to examine it. The
intently—and promptly answered all the questions!                  parables of Jesus were intended to have this unity or
And the one who re-told it best was the man who                    wholeness which would have been apparent to the oral
couldn‘t remember before. God‘s word in the mother                 communicator listeners of his day. The Parable of the
tongue sticks deeper!                                              Prodigal Son had a uni-polar meaning rather than the                   14 points of seven steps to depravity and seven steps to
.html (Vision 2025 is a Wycliffe initiative)                       restoration that some have gotten from it in our times.
                                                                   BIBLE STORYING INTENSIVE
WEST AFRICA—―We are a group of Ms listening to
your radio broadcast because it is the truth that you              The recent CBS Bible Storying intensive class at
preach.‖ This is only one comment received from Futa               Southwestern Seminary May 19-23 had 29 credit
Toro people listening to the chronological Bible stories           participants and 19 for non-credit. While a majority of
that are aired on 23 stations on ―The Way of                       those in the class were seminary students, there was a
Righteousness.‖ This is no small miracle considering               very good mix of international participants which
the fact that these stations are owned and operated by             included one brother from Ghana, a young lady from
nonbelievers. Prayer Points May 08                                 Chad, one another from India, at least one from a
                                                                   Hispanic background and several from Korean and
  REALISTIC VALUE OF NARRATIVES FOR                                other Asian countries.
            ORAL LEARNERS                                              In each class participants join in affinity groups of
                                                                   3-4 or more and tell at least one unprepared Bible
One of the limitations of the narrative approach is that           story, prepared OT and NT stories, and a final polished
of dealing with very specific details and interpretations          story for class evaluation. Evaluations indicated how
in the text. Narratives work their very best for                   much the participants enjoyed their storying
panoramic overviews to see the sweep or progression                experiences and that it proved to them they could do it.
of the meta-story rather than examination of minute                    Next Bible Storying intensive is scheduled for
details — especially where there are several possible              November 3-7 and will be for non-credit or conference
interpretations or difficulties with interpretation of the         only. For additional information on accommodation
passage. The narrative approach has worked well with               and to register contact For
oral communicators for several reasons. First, the                 information on conference content contact
story is itself attractive as they generally enjoy stories or
that are uncomplicated enough so they can make sense
of it. This is why we often simplify or adapt or craft              INTERNATIONAL ORALITY CONFERENCE
stories from the Bible that we intend to tell, leaving                       Spread The Word 2008
out some of the details and names that are difficult for
the oral listener to make sense of. This doesn‘t imply                  This event will focus on those who work with the
that the listeners are stupid or unable to learn, it is just       unreached people groups (primary orality) and those
that all the understanding listeners will get must be              who work with the literate who ―choose‖ to
communicated orally and they generally cannot review               communicate by oral means even though they can read
notes (or charts), or make comparisons easily.                     and write (secondary orality).
     Second, oral communicators tend to be very                         There will be four plenary sessions to introduce
―wholistic‖ in their perspective regarding a narrative.            the primary concepts as well as provide motivation and
It is true or not true. It cannot be true and have                 vision-casting related to the foundational aspects of the
obvious (to them) contradictions in it. Though some                ION movement.
of those in oral cultures do have contradictory stories                 Tuesday, Elective Workshops: A number of
where the hero dies in one story and then lives again in           different workshops will be offered throughout the
another. But that is possible because those are ―just              day. The purpose is to give you a good understanding
stories‖ and their stories quite often do not merge or             of the breath of the orality movement and to better
progress from one story to the next as the Bible stories           understand the different aspects.
do. These oral communicators tend to take the whole                     Wednesday, Affinity Tracks : Six affinity tracks
narrative at face value as a whole. The narrative will             based on areas of common interest. These tracks are:
have a ―uni-value‖ to them rather be an ordered listing                  Primary Oral Learners: Those who are
of many progressive or argumentative integrated                             unable to learn by literate means residing both
themes. This obviously points to one of the major                           in literate and illiterate cultures.
limitations of digging too deeply into the meaning of                    Secondary Oral Learners: Literates who
narratives, and especially of disassembling or                              choose to learn by oral means although they

          do have the ability to learn through literacy.         them learn the stories and then gave them picture
        Women: This track will focus on the use of              sheets to help them retell the stories to their children
         oral strategies with women and children. It                  One of my favorite moments happened one year
         will include principles of both primary and             while I was at our training center. I was asked to go
         secondary orality.                                      over the children‘s building and share Bible stories. I
     CEO: Leaders of Christian organizations and                did one OT story and then a story of Jesus. Then the
         ministries who can influence others will spend          Spirit said to me—Let the children tell their favorite
         the day seeing how they can bring the                   stories. It was a great hour. One last girl had her hand
         principles or orality into the practitioner level       up for about 15 minutes. We had five minutes left
         of their ministry.                                      before lunch. ―I haven‘t told my story yet,‖ she said. I
     Academic: The challenge of how to bring the                asked what was her story. ―Esther,‖ she replied. I
         principles of orality into the academic world           reminded her that it was a long story. ―Can you tell it
         will be the focus for this group along with a           in five minutes?‖ She replied that she could and she
         focus on understanding the history of the               did! Again and again we‘ve seen the children listen to
         orality movement.                                       their parents telling the Bible stories and then go out to
     Music and Arts: The use of oral principles                 share the stories with their friends. . JOT & FRIENDS
         extends well beyond the simple spoken word.
         This affinity group will explore how music                               THE LAST STORY
         and the arts can greatly enhance the                                     More Than A Prophet
         effectiveness of orality ministries.
    Wednesday, Story Immersion: For those with a                 Recently the Lord gave me a special blessing of
desire to be more fully immersed in how to do Bible              ―storying‖ to about thirteen girls. My dear room mate
storying, we will offer a hands-on day that will allow           Tara has a gift of making friends with the Kurdish girls
attendees an opportunity to be specifically trained in           here in the dorms. One of Tara‘s new friends had
the use of stories in a variety of settings.                     invited us to the other girl‘s dorm for a visit. (There
    Thursday, Consultations: This day will provide               are 2 large dorms each for the men and the women that
an opportunity to help build a movement of orality by            house up to 640 students apiece). We searched for
dividing into working groups to address the question             their room through dirty hallways. When we finally
of how to build a movement and developing practical              found it, about fifteen junior girls piled into the room
steps that can be taken.                                         and plopped down on the single beds almost on top of
    For more information about the conference:                   me. They questioned me about my religion. I                         explained that I am a follower of Jesus. They then told
    To register:                      me how much they love Jesus. ―He is one of our
                                                                 favorite prophets, we LOVE Jesus!‖ they chimed in
            STORYING TO CHILDREN                                 together.
                                                                      I asked them if I could tell them a story about
    We‘ve struggled to maintain a balance regarding              Jesus. ‖Oh Yes!‖ they replied. I told the story of the
children. We‘ve run into several situations where                prostitute that was forgiven by Jesus. They loved the
adults believed that stories were only for children.             story. One young girl told me her favorite part was that
We‘ve had some workers who were more comfortable                 Jesus had a heart of love towards woman. We
storying only to children. And we‘ve had to decide on            discussed Jesus and His character for quite awhile. I
several occasions about how much to allow children to            was impressed by their understanding. I asked them if
participate in adult storying sessions. We don‘t want            I could come back and visit and they replied:
to discourage the children, but also we don‘t want the           ―Everyday?‖ I‘m hoping to visit at least once a week
children to take the sessions away from the adults.              and story with them about our wonderful Savior!
    Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how               Please pray for wisdom for the Storying and that the
you look at it, the children listen better, learn quicker,       girl‘s would understand that Jesus is more than a
and are more likely to respond to any pre or post-story          prophet. M H
learning activities than the adults. So where there are              Address all correspondence, contributions and
significant numbers of children likely to attend it is                corrections to:
good to provide separate storying sessions more
geared to their worldview and done in an even more               Visit and
participative teaching style that the children enjoy.   for additional resources.
We‘ve also worked with oral learner mothers to help


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