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Orality, Storying Basics

Back to the Basics

Hallsville 4-13

Cover the basics at a TruthSticks Training workshop in Hallsville, Mo., in April 2013.

   If you’re new to orality and Bible Storying, here’s a good place to jump into the most exciting ride of your ministry.

   Bible Storying is a method for understanding and applying God’s Word in a way that everyone can quickly learn and easily pass on to others. Missionaries developed it for use among non-readers. In postmodern America, we’ve found out that Bible Storying promotes conversational evangelism. (Hey, that reminds me of a story!) And in small groups, leaders have a highly relational tool that helps the leader track spiritual growth. Bible stories are chosen because of their relevance to a specific issue, such as salvation by grace, or a broader theme, such as marriage. Since most stories only take three minutes to tell, small group leaders use dialogue to get the participants to exegete the passage and apply it to their lives.

   To pastors who haven’t experienced it, some think this is about telling them to preach differently. It’s not, but some elements might provide insight into thinking in ways and using communications methods that their church members better understand.

   The biggest issue I encounter from church leaders is questioning depth. With Bible Storying, you know exactly who in your group is going deep and why. In traditional discipleship programs, the teacher goes deep, but since there’s no interaction as he goes, the class participants may or may not be growing in their faith.

   When a church has a bedrock commitment to making disciples, then Bible Storying should be considered superior to any other method. A few months before Avery Willis died, and prior to releasing Truth That Sticks (which we co-authored), Avery confided in me that Bible Storying should be the default method of Bible study. What he meant was that after a lifetime of developing print-based literate worldview discipleship pieces, it was the small groups using Bible Storying that brought together all the elements of disciple-making.

Benefits: Churches that use Bible Storying methods as described in TruthSticks Training benefit in these ways:

  1. Simplifies the discipleship process. You don’t have to be a biblical expert to lead a small group.
  2. Multiplies small groups leading to numerical growth. New leaders are constantly mentored. Each new group must examining three things: Can this become a new church? Can this become a new small group? Should we disband?
  3. Experiential Bible study engages not just multiple senses, but often the emotions. Emotions etch memories.
  4. Bible study is applicable to real life. It’s not theoretical. We know this works.
  5. Participants can no longer “hide,” but will be expected to grow spiritually, apply the lesson, and be held accountable.

About Mark Snowden

TruthSticks originated from the book I co-authored with the late Avery Willis. Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truths in a Teflon World was the book and this blog and Bible studies have resulted. It's great to be partnering with churches who are committed to making disciple-makers. Request a catalog of Bible studies using orality at SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com.

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