EDITOR’S NOTE: Baptist Press today concludes its 10-part series on Bible Storying, which has been published both in BP News and Baptist Press en Español (www.bpnews.net/espanol). The series is adapted from the book, “A Bible Storying Model” by J.O. Terry. To access the BP story collection thus far of this series, go to www.bpnews.net/BPCollectionNews.asp?ID=183.
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–In Bible Storying, make every shared opportunity a training opportunity.
Make best use of every shared opportunity with an interpreter or national Baptist partner a training opportunity. You will want to share your vision — why you are doing what you do. You will want to share your own testimony and especially why you were led to share God’s Word in this way — a desire for all people to have the same opportunity that you had: For them to have their sins forgiven. For them to know Jesus as the One who gave His life as a substitute sacrifice for their punishment. For all people to be able to enjoy God’s fullest blessing on their lives just as you have.
If those you are training can read English, be prepared to share a copy of the Bible lessons as you are teaching them. Remember the articles in this series is for your instruction; note that the articles may approach preparing for the evangelistic encounter differently than they might do in their own culture.
If you bring visuals with you like teaching pictures, be prepared to leave these in the hands of someone whom you train to use them. Take time with the person to go through the pictures (or other visuals) and explain each one. Then pray with the person that God will bless their use of the pictures as they teach the stories.
When there is no apparent response to the Bible stories, this can happen for a number of several reasons.
First of all, don’t be discouraged if the group of listeners seems to diminish after you begin. People have a way of listening safely without being present. They will ask someone else who was present what the foreigner said. It is important to keep going if you have any listeners at all. Of course, if you inadvertently offend any of the listeners by the vocabulary, by something unusually sensitive in the stories, or by the use of a certain picture, be prepared to ask their forgiveness. Make the necessary changes (if possible) and continue on. A pre-story session with your interpreter can help to head off this kind of problem.
Sometimes there is a delayed response to the stories. The people hear the stories but do not respond at that time. The stories will continue to work on them after you leave as the Holy Spirit uses the stories to convict of sin and displace error with truth. (This really happens!) You will have planted the seed that a local missionary or Baptist partner evangelist is able to harvest later. So count yourself as part of the team as Paul said, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, and God made it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
The goal in beginning a Church Planting Movement (CPM) is to saturate a people with God’s Word conveyed in manner so they can receive it, understand it, consider it, have opportunity to act upon it, and so they can easily share what they hear with others. And by training an assistant or helper you will leave behind someone who can continue what you with God’s help have begun.
And it goes without saying: All the preparation and teaching must be covered with prayer for yourself, your interpreter if used and for your listeners. Your ministry through the Bible stories is a partnership with the Holy Spirit. You tell the story, the Spirit brings conviction.
This series has been a brief review of the Bible Storying method. The purpose has been to introduce you to this type of ministry that has been used to reach many people who cannot read with the message of salvation. We are convinced that through Bible Storying you can reach many people in many different cultures in this country and throughout the world. The instruction that Jesus gave to the Gadarene demoniac who had been liberated applies to us also: “Go to your house with your parents and tell them all that the Lord has done, and how he had compassion on you” (Mark 5:19).
To receive more information, see the following web pages:
J.O. Terry is publisher of the Bible Storying Newsletter and the Journal of Bible Storying. He was a media missionary in Asia with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board from 1968-2003. Daniel R. Sanchez is associate dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Scarborough Institute of Church Planting & Growth.