By Jerry Wiles, North America Regional Director, International Orality Network and President Emeritus, Living Water International – Special to ASSIST News Service
HOUSTON, TX (ANS – October 6, 2016) — The Orality Movement is continuing to gain momentum, visibility and credibility, yet there are still many who are hearing about it for the first time. In some sectors of the church and mission world there are those who recognize Orality methods, concepts and practices as effective for those who have little or no literacy skills, or for bedtime stories for children. Another challenge is the fact that the pure dictionary definition of the word “Orality” does not really give an adequate understanding of the overall global Orality Movement.
Once people have an awareness of the depth and breadth of the Orality domain, it takes on a whole new meaning. When followers of Jesus experience the power of Orality-based communication and instructional skills, they discover superior ways of sharing the Gospel and making disciples. These are methods and strategies that are biblical, understandable and reproducible.
Those who have experienced appropriate Orality training and who have implemented the principles and methods in various settings, inside and outside the walls of the church, become passionate and excited to share them with others. Those of us in the Orality Movement recognize the amazing learning journey that we are on. In the places where Orality training and practices have been implemented over time, we discover the many applications. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, many trainees begin to exercise some creativity and innovation and discover uses, beyond what they received in the basic training.
A growing number of mission/ministry and church leaders are becoming aware of the power of Orality in communicating the Gospel, disciple making and church planting. However, now we are discovering numerous other applications. For example, there are churches starting Orality classes in their regular services, as well as Orality methods in outreach to immigrant populations, international students, expats and re-pats, street gangs and others.
The Orality in Business Network is a newly launched strategic initiative within the International Orality Network’s North America Region. It’s not just the conventional Business as Mission model, as important as that is, but Orality methods in small business consulting, team building, corporate culture, professional development, leadership training and other aspects of outreach in the marketplace. Orality and storytelling are gaining interest in the areas of sales and marketing as effective tools for improving productivity. The ultimate objective of course is advancing the Kingdom of God in every segment of society and completing the Great Commission.
The academic world is now paying more attention to the Orality Movement and it is gaining recognition and appreciation as an important, but traditionally neglected area of study. The newly formed International Society for Orality Missiology will be a resource bank to serve and support seminaries, graduate and undergraduate institutions in creating Orality study programs. This field of study can include various disciplines, such as theology, missiology, cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology, epistemology, learning and communication theories, to name a few. Narratology and communitarianism are other related disciplines that can enhance understanding.
A special education teacher in a recent Orality training workshop immediately recognized how she could apply the methods with her students. Pastors and teachers are finding the more participatory and engaging aspects of Orality concepts are more effective that the more traditional preaching and lecture styles. After just a one-day workshop, we often hear pastors report that they have changed their style of delivery, and people love it.
There is a mega-church effectively using small group discussions in their main services, and the people respond very well. The people become more engaged, remember the message better and continue to discuss it among themselves. We may think of questions and answers, participatory and engaging communication methods a being good for small groups, but they work with large crowds as well.
Photo captions: 1) What’s it means, and how does it apply to my life? 2) Power of Group Discussions. 3) Jerry Wiles.
About the writer: Jerry Wiles is North America Regional Director, International Orality Network, and President Emeritus, Living Water International. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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