In our previous blog posts we have focused on various oral strategies. These strategies have been used to successfully reach many, previously unreached, people with the gospel. Now we will move on to how Bible Storying can tear down barriers to spreading the gospel and why it is so useful.
Storying as a strategy often tears down barriers to the Gospel.
In many of the unreached regions of the world, there is an open hostility to the Gospel. Open evangelistic meetings, street evangelism, mass evangelism and crusades are just not possible.
Storying by nature is non-confrontational, but speaks to the heart in an indirect way. Every culture has some sort of connection with a story. Stories tell their history and reveal their ancestor’s thoughts and character. Telling Bible stories usually causes the listener to pause and listen. Then, as they listen, the Holy Spirit makes a connection that opens their heart to the Gospel.
The Word of God is supernatural. Often, God prepares a heart to be changed just by hearing a Bible story. God in His infinite wisdom has built, into every story, unknown factors that unlock a hungry, seeking heart.
What is Oral Communication?
Of the 7,300 language groups that exist in the world today, over 4,000 have little or no access to the Bible. How is culture and history passed down in these communities? Through oral storytelling. Over two-thirds of the world’s population are oral communicators.
When someone hears the phrase “oral communicator,” they often equate it with “illiterate” or “uneducated.” In some cases that’s true. Many people groups around the world have incredibly low literacy rates, low education, and some don’t even have a written language. But being an oral communicator goes much deeper. It affects the way people perceive the world and interact with information. The bottom line is, if you hand an oral communicator a Bible written in their heart language, it will be nearly impossible for them to learn from it.
Reaching oral communicators requires bringing them God’s Word. Not only in their heart language, but also in a form of communication from which they will naturally and readily learn.
If you’d like to learn more about orality, we recommend Making Disciples of Oral Learners, published by the International Orality Network. You can listen to the audiobook here, or download it as a free PDF.
Why use stories?
For thousands of years, the Bible has been passed on through stories. The promises God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were passed down by the Jewish people for generations before Genesis was ever written. The prophets God sent to Israel and Judah delivered oral messages to the people. Jesus used parables when he taught people about the things of God. After Paul planted churches in the places he visited, he would write a letter meant to be read aloud to the church there.
God chose to use people to deliver His messages orally to the world. SOW International is joining that long history of biblical revelation by bringing God’s Word to people all over the world using stories. To find more information on this project and to learn how you can help, please visit Great Company of Publishers.