Seven billion people, 4.9 billion are oral learners

By November 1, 2011

USA (MNN) — This week the world ceremoniously welcomed the world's seven-billionth person into the world. People are living longer. Unfortunately, fertility rates are falling. That means soon the age graph will be skewed. The pyramid, once with a tiny number of old folks at the peak and a broad foundation of children, is inverting.

The growth of the population also has implications for sharing the Gospel. While many believe the peoples of the world need printed Bibles in their own language, Jerry Wiles with Living Water International says printing them may not be the best choice. He says 70% of the world's population are oral learners. "70% of the world's population would be oral. Oral cultures and oral preference learners all refer to people of the world who can't, won't, or don't read, or those who learn and communicate best by means other than print-based media or written instructions."

Wiles says the Orality Movement has been around for a long time but is really taking off since Lausanne. The movement is deep and wide and includes technology, storying, and other oral arts. "It is becoming a very significant revolutionary development in missions strategy — evangelism, disciple making, and church planting."

While Living Water International is about providing clean water to those in need, they're also about the Living Water. Because many of the people they serve are oral learners, they've had to adjust how they share the Living Water. "We're almost three years into the first phase of an introduction of what we call contextual Bible storying. It's just a jump-start introduction into orality and oral methods."

While LWI has been on the cutting edge, they want to share what they've learned. That's why they're holding an Orality Workshop in the United States on December 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. "[In] one day, we can teach five stories, and with the five stories and questions you can give a simple narrative theology of the important things people need to know to come to a relationship with Jesus and become a reproducing follower of Jesus."

Wiles says learning this technique, "There are very broad applications for this because it's great for people who are going on short-term mission trips, but also people who are working in cross-cultural situations or different language groups, people working with children or prison ministry, or just general outreach."

He says telling stories and asking questions is an effective way of sharing the Gospel. "A story sticks in people's minds."

Cost for the workshop is just $35 which covers snacks, lunch, and a book. If you'd like information on the Orality Workshop in Houston, Texas, click here.

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