International (MAF/MNN) — Think back to when you were in school. Who were the most effective teachers? Do you remember why? It probably had something to do with how the teacher communicated his/her material to you and what you ferreted out for yourself.
In the Bible, Jesus spent a lot of time teaching. As a communicator, He was incredibly effective in exploring Truth through stories.
For most of us, teaching in a way that sticks is a skill that is learned, and that requires training. Rather than hold a workshop, Regina Manley with Mission Aviation Fellowship says they launched a 6-part online curriculum called StoryFire. “Bible storytelling and discussion meet this wonderful need by allowing people to hear a Bible story several different ways, learn it, and then discuss it as a group where the people find the treasures in the Word and discover lessons themselves.” Why? “We remember what we discover ourselves.”
For most isolated pastors in rural areas, explains Manley, “The way that they have been taught to teach sermons–with several points and teach the Bible from pulling verses from the Bible–has left their congregation impressed but unable to remember the material,” which defeats the purpose. By storytelling and encouraging audience participation, “The audience discovers the Treasures in the story. We have very simple, effective questions that anyone can ask and apply to every story. Those quiet and shy ones can be the best leaders because they allow others to speak.”
How is this done? By following the model of Jesus: He used stories to teach adults and frequently answered their challenges with a story or a question. When stories engage our mind and emotions, we are more likely to remember what we hear and be motivated to change.
Based on the same principles MAF uses to train isolated church leaders around the world, StoryFire is now available for free download. Manley says anyone can master this effective ministry tool in 25 short audio lessons. For example, “One is geared for people studying with Bibles; another is geared for church planting with evangelism, with people who don’t read at all, so they’re memorizing God’s Word, story by story; another one is geared to small group Bible study at home.” They’re so effective that “our leaders are using this all over the world for evangelism, Bible study, home and cell groups, and having devotions with the kids at home.”
What’s the time investment in the training? Most of the 25 lessons are less than five minutes in length. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to listen to all of the lessons, and 30 minutes to view each one of the four StoryFire model videos. Manley says, “They can study at home, at their own pace. They just do need to get a group together to practice.”
Best of all, she adds, “The individual person who wants to pick up this skill can do it absolutely free. Anybody can learn the skill by going to the Web site and listening to the lessons there, or downloading it themselves.” Want to be a more effective Bible storyteller? Give StoryFire a try. Click here.