Those who cannot read, or who prefer to learn by non-literate methods, are considered oral learners. Since 80% of the world’s adult population are oral learners, traditional evangelism and discipleship strategies must be revised to reach non-literate people with the gospel. Orality, a teaching strategy, uses story-telling methods and repetitive drilling to help people learn and remember the stories of Scripture. Following mastery of the stories, inviting questions enable people to dig deeply into Scripture to discover what the text says and then make practical applications for their lives.
Recently, GBC-supported missionaries to Bolivia, Steve and Mary Hawthorne, attended an orality conference. Returning home from the conference, Steve was invited by his taxi driver to share the story of the father who had two sons in Luke 15, followed by the story of the lost sheep, asking the driver to retell the story so he could share it with his wife and kids that night. Steve ended the conversation with a promise to send him more Scripture stories on a flash drive to listen to on his phone--orality in action.
The theme of our November Haiti conference will be “Telling God’s Story.” Most of the Haitian pastors have a higher level of literacy and formal education than their congregation. So then, how can they best communicate to those with less formal education? They can speak with them in the way Jesus did--by telling stories, helping their congregants learn the redemption story and systematic theology through simple memorization. Our goal is to help the pastors learn some basic techniques of storytelling through teaching, modeling, and practicing them.
Please pray for rich blessings for our Haitian friends as we prepare for our time in Haiti.