the Bible storytelling method
Limited access areas are home to 3 billion people living in 7,000 unreached people groups. 98% of the people are not Christians. Even if they did have access to a written Bible in their language, 90% of them couldn't or wouldn't read it. They are "oral learners" who process information with very different "ears to hear" than people who read. The most likely way for an unreached people group to quickly gain access to the gospel is indigenously led, disciple-making Bible story groups in every village. We strategically position disciples to do that in four generations (2 Timothy 2.2). We believe, after that, disciple making can become spontaneous and stays 'in perpetual motion'.
A Bible storytelling disciple visits a village, share stories with people, and then invites them to attend a weekly story group that will be meeting to learn and discuss the story. Each disciple teaches the group the story of the week, they retell it, and discuss it – sometimes for hours! Learners tell others in the village during the week and invite them to attend the weekly disciple making story group.
Eventually the group will become so large the storyteller selects a disciple to lead some of the participants in a different group. These groups can merge to start a new church when they are ready.
In 2 to 3 minutes, the storyteller accurately and naturally tells one of the 42 stories in a chronological story set from Creation to the Return of Christ. Each story links to the next with a redemptive theme. Participants learn, retell, and discuss the story under the leadership of the storyteller.
Basic questions prompt discussion ending with how each person will apply what has been learned and to whom they will tell the story and invite to the next group. Group members hold each other accountable to do what they said they would do. Over time it is common for the Holy Spirit to begin convicting listeners and learners about the truth of these new stories.
Many times, it leads to a crisis of belief with the Holy Spirit giving faith to repent, believe, and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. The stories teach how to be a disciple of Jesus in community with others in the story group. There is sharing about life, singing, storytelling, discussion, and prayer.
STORY GROUP DISCIPLES
WHY IS BIBLE STORYTELLING EFFECTIVE?
Even in cultures with high literacy, major population segments continue to operate in a predominantly oral framework. For example, most people prefer watching a short video over reading the script.
Oral learners DO use proverbs, parables, history, songs, genealogies, dance, and other narrative forms to communicate their most important information.
Oral learners DO NOT look to the written word for learning, nor do they respond well to formal education. Instead, their life lessons are learned, and their worldviews are shaped by observation, participation, and verbal communication of culturally relevant stories.
Oral learners DO NOT look to the written word for learning and they cannot be reached with the gospel using expository preaching, written or audible Scripture, and evangelistic tracts. Instead, their life lessons are learned– and their worldviews shaped– by observation, participation, and verbal communication of culturally relevant stories.