Maybe, you have never heard of Storying,
which also means you would not be aware of its benefits.
It was developed by New Tribes Missionaries working among non-literate
people groups. It is a way of
teaching and transferring the Bible to through an oral methodology.
Basically, an oral Bible is created and taught to those who have used
storying in their own cultures for centuries.
This being a primary way they communicate, they are quick to learn the
stories with all most word for word accuracy and then to pass them on to others.
Since the Bible is more than 50% stories, they are truly learning to hide
the Word of God in their hearts.
It would not be unusual that they have more of God’s Word
memorized than those of us from the literate world do.
We so often have learned to depend on our books, computers, PDA”s, and
mobile phones like crutches, and no longer put things into our long-term and/or
even short-term memory. This is the
beauty of storying for both literate and oral cultures – it gets God’s Word
into our mind and hearts and helps to keep it there.
It may seem difficult at times to memorize individual
scripture verses. Part of the
difficulty is that when we pull them out of context we don’t have clues from
what came before them or immediately after them to remind us of the verse.
In storying this is not a problem, as you always have the context of a
story to help you remember. Simply
put – stories are easier to memorize than individual verses.
That is why storying is good for both literate and oral learners.
And in the case like is present in some parts of the world
– we have contact with people who have come from countries that are not open
to the Bible. If these people become
believers – it may be that the only Bible they can take back with them to
share with family members or friends who still live in their homeland will be
the Bible that we have help to put into their hearts.
The dynamics and pluses of using storying are great in many
areas. It can be tremendously useful
for doing evangelism. It is useful
for discipleship and leadership training. It
is an awesome tool to use to teach about church life and the mission of the
church. It writes God’s Word on
the hearts of His people. It can be
safely taken into any situation and share at any time.
Here are a few details about and
guidelines for Storying:
- Storying is a primary communication vehicle for many different cultures.
- Storying is based entirely upon the Bible.
- Storying can be used in a chronologically sequential manner to tell the
story of God’s revelation – the Bible, from the creation in Genesis to
the ascension of Jesus into Heaven in the Gospel writings and the book of
- In chronological story telling - stories always look forward, and never
backwards. Each story from
creation to Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension all point to this
final redeeming act. The cross
and resurrection and the Gospel that it preaches can be seen as the ultimate
climax of every story throughout the whole history of the Bible.
Remember when using this approach to also be careful not to jump too
far ahead and spoil the grand climax, but always allude to the fact that God
was preparing for something to happen in the future; that the story is
pointing towards that something, but that in the chronology of the Bible it
has happened yet. It is like
building a ladder up the side of a tall tree – you can only nail up one
rung at a time.
- Storying can also be used in a topical teaching and discovery format where
a series of 2 Old Testament (OT) and 2 New Testament (NT) stories are taught
in sequence to teach on a specific doctrine, practice, command, etc. from
the Bible. For instance, to
teach on “forgiveness” – pick two OT stories and 2 NT stories about
forgiveness to teach for the next 4 sessions.
- Stories should be chosen based upon universal Biblical truths that need to
- Stories are chosen based on bridges and barriers in your target
audience’s or target people group’s world view.
- Storying is structure to give people an oral Bible and to help them
develop the skill to share it orally with others.
- When a story is taught everyone must try and tell it back before the
session is over. And then each
person must go and teach the story and re-telling of it to others.
- Everyone likes a good story. And
Bible Stories tend to be very interesting and the cause of questions and
understandings. The moral
implications and wisdom gained usually make for strong receptivity.
The point at which people may become uncomfortable is when the
stories of the crucifixion and resurrection are told and an invitation is
- Storying is predominately narrative with minimal exposition.
Let the story tell itself. When
the group’s members have a history of Bible training more exposition may
occur, but when a member or several members are unbelievers or new believers
then it is better to have little or no exposition.
- Storying can be arranged in tracts that highlight different needs.
The first time through may be evangelistic.
Second time through the storying may be view in a way that highlights
discipleship needs and issues. Teach
the new believer how to in turn share these stories in an evangelistic way
with their lost family members and friends.
Tracts of stories can further be group together to teach about church
life, leadership, missions, etc. For
instance, a tract of stories through Acts would show how the early NT church
was formed, how it looked and behaved, how they treated each other, how it
responded to persecution, how it spread, etc.
- Repetition is a good thing. Using
stories repeatedly to teach different things each time can be done, and the
repetition helps to cement the story into the minds and hearts of the
- Remember Stories come from the Bible.
They are not about the Bible. So
do your best to stay as near to the biblical narrative as possible, being
very careful not to add to it or take away from it.
what do you think?
Does this sound like something you want to learn more about or want to
learn to do with others?