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Storying
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Storying

 

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:

  1. Storying is a primary communication vehicle for many different cultures.
  2. Storying is based entirely upon the Bible.
  3. 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 Acts.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Stories should be chosen based upon universal Biblical truths that need to be communicated.
  7. Stories are chosen based on bridges and barriers in your target audience’s or target people group’s world view.
  8. Storying is structure to give people an oral Bible and to help them develop the skill to share it orally with others. 
  9. 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.
  10. 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 given.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 learners.
  14. 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.

So what do you think?  Does this sound like something you want to learn more about or want to learn to do with others? 

Key Benefits

bulletTremendously useful for doing evangelism.
bulletUseful for discipleship and leadership training.
bulletAn awesome tool to use to teach about church life and the mission of the church.
bulletWrites God’s Word on the hearts of His people.
bulletCan be safely taken into any situation and shared at any time.

 

 

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Last modified: March 07, 2006