While at the ION conference I was able to meet Dorothy Miller the executive of God's Story. Her organization produces an animated chronological presentation of the Bible's message that's available in 200 languages with more being added all the time. I purchased some for some foreign nationals who live near me. For $3,500 a ministry can translate the God's Story video and make unlimited copies for local evangelism.
But I want to tell you about another of Dorothy's ministries...
In her work, she's also started training people in "Oral" Inductive Bible Study techniques. The program is called "Simply the Story". I've reviewed her manual (it's free at the link!) and plan to review it again. I was also privileged for her to hear one of my Bible stories and give me some personal guidance. If you're at all interested in Bible Story Telling, it's a great tool to get started.
In addition to telling you how to LEARN stories, this manual teaches you how to guide listeners into observing, interpreting, and applying the story through oral methods. It's a veritable gold mine of instruction!
"Simply the Story" training is becoming popular in the US. Here are 3 recent contacts they've had with US pastors demonstrating the need for this type of training here, not just the "foreign mission field". (Note: "Simply the Story" is abbreviated as "STS" hereafter.)
1. A church leader who attended STS workshop took the concept back and demonstrated it to his Bible study class. His pastor wrote him this note. "I want to tell you how blessed and excited I am about Simply the Story. By executive order (and approved by the elders) I am moving that it become our 'teacher training' for all age groups. I can envision all the classes being taught by regular people right out of the Scriptures! It is simple and revolutionary. So, I guess this means that you will have to be ready to teach this often."
2. After attending a STS workshop, a church member shared a story with herpastor and gave him the STS document. The pastor initiated a new neighborhood "smoker friendly" Bible study. Her pastor uses the STS way of presenting the Bible. The story started with 4 people and has already grown to 14. "Most are new believers, some coming out of cults and a few are just neighbors seeking. Best of all," the pastor reported, "I am overhearing conversation during breaks where the class members are discussing the applications in the story."
3. Another pastor who attended a STS workshop told us, "We are taking a look at all of our children's curriculum. We want to clearly communicate the Bible at an early age. One adult class will be using this too to see how it impacts the people."
Update on 12/13/2007
And here's an update from an Indian pastor. South India has a large Christian community already so that made this report especially interesting to me if you're wondering about the use of Bible Story Telling in a place that's not a "brand new" mission field:
A pastor in South India reported, "I have had 11 years of theological education. In 16 years we planted 29 churches in the villages among the uneducated and baptized 820 people. After I received STS training, in nine months we baptized 434 people and planted 19 new churches! new believers came from when the uneducated of our church told the Bible story they learned at church! and the 29 churches have more people and they all know more the Gods word."