Last week I had the privilege to go to Mission College in Richmond, Virginia at the International Mission Board’s retreat and training center. I and another member from FBC Bowling Green went through the Storying Track and I am so grateful we did. One of the more recent statistics abounding is that around 80% of the worlds population are oral learners. What this means is that for the vast majority of this 80% they are incapable of reading or writing. There is another portion of this 80% who are capable of reading and writing, but they just don’t read unless they absolutely have to.
With statistics like this it forces us to ask the question about Christian discipleship to this vast majority of people who are incapable or unwilling to read the Bible. The Catholic church faced this same question in its early inception and that is one of the many reasons they placed the twelve steps of Jesus’ Passion throughout their churches. It was to help visually tell the story of Jesus’ work on the cross in pictorial form for those who were unable to read.
Storying is a method to help with this discipleship and evangelism process. It is a lengthy process, but a very effective one. Storying is not a new concept. In fact, before recording history, storying was the method history was passed down from one generation to the next. The “storying” method with which I was exposed has also been around for a few decades. It has had a great deal of success in other countries.
As I sat in the training sessions I began to think about the local church and this discipleship method of storying. I do not know the answers as to how to implement such a method in a literate culture, but I know the value is present even for them. As a result, I used story telling in my sermon this past Sunday and am still evaluating the effectiveness of it. I did not, because of some other time constraints, do what I wanted to do in terms of the discipline process, but I think it was a good start for an introduction to our church.
I am looking forward to see how the Lord develops and uses this method in my ministry and would encourage you to pray for me as I seek this truth out in my life. What I think I have come to believe is people will learn and retell a story when they won’t memorize Scripture and tell others the significance of those Biblical words. Whatever method you choose to use, it is my hope we as followers of Jesus would be willing to tell others about His great love and help lead them to Him.