Oral Training in Central America. (Photo courtesy of LWI)
International (ANS/MNN) ― According to the International Orality Network, 70% of the world’s population learns orally. That’s 4.35 billion people who can’t or won’t rely on written instruction for learning.
There are still 2700 language groups that don’t even have their own version of written script.
Living Water International President Emeritus Jerry Wiles recently reported through ASSIST News Service that increasing numbers of churches, ministries and mission organizations are becoming interested and involved with orality. This is true for mission work in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but it is also very effective with churches in North America, Europe, and Western countries.
Some key components in the success of the Christian Orality Movement are repetition and engagement to spread the Gospel message. Living Water International (LWI) has been a major part of this movement since 2009 and has another Orality Training Workshop coming up this October in Stafford, Texas.
In a recent Orality Training Workshop at LWI in Houston, one attendee recognized that oral methods would work well in his prison ministry. Someone else had the revelation that they can use storying and orality in their work with the homeless and in street ministry. Another person asked, “Will this work with children?” The answer is, “Yes."
It is universal in its application.” Many people come to Orality training events to prepare for mission trips and work in developing countries. Topics covered at these workshops include how oral strategies work, the power of simplicity, keys to effective disciple making, and more. It costs $35/person to attend an Orality Training Workshop.
In LWI’s two-day training workshops, they give trainees an assignment or challenge at the end of the first day. They are challenged to tell at least one story to at least one person before they go to bed that night. The morning of the second day, they report on what happened. Trainees are often excited to discover how people love to hear stories and that many want to receive Jesus and follow Him.
There is no single method that is the best for all people and every place. It is important to consider the receptor culture, the worldview, and the context of your ministry or mission.
Wiles says, “One of the things I suggest to people who want to get started in Orality strategies is to learn all you can about the life, spirit, and teachings of Jesus. That may sound simplistic, but He really is our best model and example of how to communicate, lead, teach, and make disciples.”
Most of the people in Jesus’ time here on earth were oral learners. Scholars tell us that only 3% to 12% of the people of that time would have had access to the Scriptures and could have read them with comprehension. So we can understand why Jesus used stories and parables, asked questions, and created relationships and community as it has been reproduced through His followers for 2,000 years.
Orality skills enable followers of Jesus to cross over any and all borders and barriers with God’s Story. Pray that increasing numbers will discover the love, truth, and Spirit of Jesus through this ever-growing method of Orality.