Friday, April 29, 2011

Bible Story Telling

Notes on the application of Bible Story Telling for evangelism and Christian formation

When you talk about "Bible Story Telling" as a means of evangelizing and discipling people, initially the discussion turns to "illiterate" people in Third World nations who either have no written language and, therefore, no Bible or people in the same part of the world who were never taught to read. Reaching these cultures is most quickly accomplished by training evangelists and teachers in the art of Bible Story Telling in order to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. It's not uncommon for these evangelists to master up to 125 Bible stories from Genesis to Revelation. In essence they "carry" their Bible internally and, as participants in oral cultures, often master the stories word for word in amazing detail. And that's a good thing... many would be beaten if seen carrying a Bible or religious literature. For them Bible Story Telling is an inexpensive and often "viral" way of communicating the message of God's Saving Truth for the World. Even Wycliffe Bible Translators is exploring the use of this method to convey the Gospel while their translators perform the laborious task of Bible translation.

Sadly, many assume Bible Story Telling is simply a method that's only applicable in the Third World. That misunderstanding is a dangerous one for a variety of reasons:

1. It assumes our own listeners are "literate" and enjoy learning by reading. Increasingly that's just not true.

2. It assumes that we as communicators of God's Word are interesting enough to hold our hearer's attention in the television, computer and video dominated world through traditional "preaching". That's not always so.

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