In Equip Missionary Training and Orality: Power of the Spoken Word we talked about the basics of what orality is and who are considered oral people and cultures. We recognized that orality relies on verbal communication and in turn affects cultural expression. This week I will share about Bible Storying: God’s Story through Spoken Word.
New Perspectives Gained Through Bible Storying
First, Bible storying is an essential communication tool when sharing the Gospel among unreached people groups in NYC and across the world. It is also one of the many valuable tools we have learned at International Project’s Equip missionary training program. Yet telling Bible stories – a simple definition of Bible storying – is much more than just a means of communication and a tool.
I love Bible storying as a way of sharing the Gospel for two reasons. First, it helps me to slow down, really think about the message I am carrying, and allow the Holy Spirit to apply it in my own heart. Learning stories from the Bible to share with others helps me personally know Jesus more. This happens as I increasingly meditate on His words or more prayerfully consider how Old Testament stories point to Jesus.
Second, storytelling, especially beloved Bible stories, is fun! Whether you come from an oral culture or not, we all love stories. I personally believe that we each have a gift for storytelling. Because God Himself is the Author of the greatest story, it makes sense that He would give people a desire to share stories. Using this gift sparks something in my heart and helps me and my audience relate in a deeper way.
Equip Missionary Training uses Bible Stories to Point to Jesus
As my team and I have begun to share more and more Bible stories during our Equip missionary training period here in NYC, I’ve been amazed to hear the responses. Some people have questions, others express awe, some quietly digest the story, and still others appear disinterested. The majority of people, though, really do seem to appreciate the Bible story that is shared.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us God’s Word is living and active, so whether in its spoken or written form, the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to speak to hearts. Even if someone appears disinterested or disgusted by the story, we never know how the Spirit is using His truth to pierce their heart and point them to Jesus.
Strategy Through Bible Story Sets
A single story from the Bible is powerful, but a strategy we are taught in our Equip missionary training is using a Bible story set. A story set is a series of stories that often have the end-goal of sharing about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. However, story sets can also have specific themes that relate to a particular culture. Themes like family, money, festivities, and health may be of great importance to a culture. Since these are seen in the Bible, a story set can easily be crafted for that specific audience.
Since story sets are shared over several weeks and sometimes months, this tool is used in a more relational setting. I have been amazed at the opportunity God has given me to use a story set at the nail salon I frequent in my neighborhood. As I have developed relationship with one of the Nepali women, I have shared a new Bible story with her each week. Sometimes I stick to the story set, and other times the Holy Spirit gives me another Bible story to share.
Though story sets are a wonderful tool, I continually am recognizing that the Spirit of God is the greatest strategist and guide. He knows exactly what someone needs to hear in that moment! My team and I are learning increasingly to listen to and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in daily interactions. As He leads us in Bible storying among the unreached during our Equip missionary training, we are excited to see people come to know Jesus through His Word.