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oral bible story development and usage

Few UPG languages have an entire written translation of the Bible. The non-literacy rates among people UPG language speakers is very high. A very carefully selected set of chronological Bible stories can be orally translated from a trade language Bible into a UPG language after a very rigorous oral translation process.  The stories are learned and then naturally told by indigenous storytellers while being audio recorded. These recordings benchmark the accuracy of the stories until a written translation is completed for that UPG language.  Until then, these audio recordings can be used to train indigenous Bible storytellers. 

The story set is comprised of three parts, each containing a series of stories: 


1. The Old Testament - including creation, the nature of God, His love for human beings, the need for reconciliation with God, and how He deals with His people in preparing the way for the coming Savior. 


2. The Gospels - including the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and main events from His life and teachings. 


3. Acts - with insights from the Epistles, including examples of people coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ, the growth of the church, and the promise of Christ’s return. 

Indigenous Bible storytellers are trained and supported in using these stories to start story groups and plant churches.  The stories are evangelistic and teach discipleship and leadership principles. People internalize the stories by listening to a Bible storyteller.  They learn to lead story group discussions of the story by telling (not playing) the stories and then using questions that draw out principles of evangelism, discipleship, and leadership.

Overview of Disciplemaking Process


We select, train, send, and supervise indigenous disciple makers (DMs) serving as oral Bible storytellers leading story groups in unreached people groups (UPG).  DMs were born and raised in their UPG know the culture, language, and provide regular reporting.  They tell a weekly Bible story from a chronological set of 42 stories spanning Creation to the Return of Christ. Each week a new story is learned, retold, and discussed by indigenous participants. During the week, they share the story with others and invite them to attend the weekly group. Groups are discipled and grow as more invitees participate each week by listening, learning, and discussing the story. This process is repeated each week.

Each DM tells Bible stories every day to people while asking God to reveal people of peace. Sometimes those people host family and friends in a story group led by the DM. When a group has 6 to 12 adult participants, a formal story group begins meeting weekly where everyone hears, learns, and discusses the weekly story. The DM is the group storyteller and leader who begins identifying participants as new DMs based on their attendance, participation, teachability, and life change.

New DMs form the next generation and replicate this process while being coached by those who discipled them. As new DMs and groups multiply, churches begin forming. The Holy Spirit guides growth at the right time in the right directions until every village has DMs leading a Bible story group. These groups are coached to include church functions in weekly meetings - proclaiming God's word, prayer, worship, leadership, giving, the Lord's Supper, making disciples, baptism, and love. When those functions are included, that group becomes a church.

Churches formed out of groups will likely continue to function primarily with Bible storytelling due to the nature of oral cultures. However, literacy workshops can be paired with Bible storying groups. Being able to read a Bible AND lead Bible story groups could add spiritual rocket fuel to multiplication in an oral culture!

PRAY, "Lord, please multiply disciple makers and story groups in every village of every unreached people group!"   

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