Monday, January 12, 2009

Bible Story Telling and Training for Trainers Merged

Updated 1/13/2009It should go with out saying, I'm recommending this for the strategy... not all the theology or interpretations found in the manual... some are pretty misleading I believe. "Just add confessional theology"!

One of the hot topics in modern missiology is the study of "Church Planting Movements". It's become its own field of study in the last 15 years... the phenomenon of house churches multiplying like "wildfire" in a given mission field. And, of course, it's not just an academic study. It's studied with an eye to "how can we reproduce rapid house church multiplication in this field?

The original "Training for Trainers" concept originated from work in Asia with a largely literate audience who had both the Scriptures in their language and who could read simple materials.

The training operated on the principle that you can't tell in advance who will bear fruit "30, 60, and 100" fold (Mark 4:8)so you give everyone leadership training.

One common denominator of church planting movements is an orientation towards obedience. In other words, when they study a passage that says "Go therefore into all nations", the people realize they are supposed to do that right away...not in 20 years "if the Spirit moves"... or - most often in the Western Church - NEVER! In other words they take Jesus seriously when He says: Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (Joh 14:21 ESV)

So the process is for each new convert to

1. Develop a list of people to share their faith with
2. Be given basic training as to how to share the faith
3. Then, when those they reach come to faith, the new Christian becomes a "trainer"

"T4T" as it came to be known became a paradigm for others wishing to promote a church planting movement on their own mission field.

There was just one problem... it was for largely literate audiences. What do you do when the people you're seeking to reach can't READ?

That's when Bible Story Telling was merged with "T4T" to develop "Storying T4T". It's evangelistic method is A) You listen to their story, B) you tell your story (about the impact of Jesus Christ on your life) and then C) you tell God's story (about the demon possessed man who Jesus left in his right mind.

At that point the person may wish to hear more Bible Stories which present the overarching message of the Bible from "Creation to Christ".

There is much more (that's why I'll link you to the 68 page download for you to review). But just on the surface this is a very workable method for anybody anywhere.
It's easily adapted as a strategy in the US.

I like the fact because when people come to understand the basic logic behind Chronological Story Telling, they wonder rightly - where do I begin? Do you just go up to people and ask "Got time to hear 35 Bible stories?"

This uses one Bible story to discern interest and then, seeks an opportunity to lay a foundation of more Bible stories. That's just great for those people you meet on the street who won't take time to READ anything you might offer them as evangelistic literature. And, unlike the 1 shot "presentations" this lets you initiate conversations that are followed up by real opportunities to present the overarching message of the Bible in a complete way similar, I suppose, to "Christianity Explained" and much more theologically sound (potentially) than an "Alpha" presentation.

And it works with anyone whether they can read or not. The only issue is - will we learn some simple Bible stories and "do it"? The main problem in the United States is that people will not be used to the expectation of immediate obedience. Of course that's the problem with the Western Church! Obedience? To the Bible? That's fanatical!

Seeing the Western Church transformed into having an "obedience orientation" takes constant prodding and patient instruction as St. Paul says: And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2Ti 2:24-26 ESV)

Now that you've been warned - check it out! There's a whole "social networking" group of people sharing this interest and was started by a practitioner of ST4T.

At the very least you'll be able to download a pretty quick-to-implement system for church based evangelism training that focuses on the story of the Bible instead of memorizing a "sales presentation".

To learn more here's the Storying Training For Trainers group. You can download an excellent "Storying Training 4 Trainers Manual".

1 comment:

Greg said...

I just signed up for your training the trainers download.

Looking forward to it.

christian discipleship