NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Stories are powerful. They can make us cry or laugh out loud. Teachers use them to educate, parents use them to calm small children and Jesus used them to explain.
“Telling stories is a way to go to a group of people, mostly in non-literate cultures, and talk to them about God and the gospel,” said Dale McCleskey, an editor in adult ministry publishing at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Stories build a foundation for people to understand the gospel.”
Hopefully, the end result is salvation for those hearing the stories and training to go out and share the gospel with others, he said.
Last year, McCleskey led a LifeWay-sponsored mission trip to Gambia, West Africa, where he and a group of employees ministered to the Mandinka people.
To share the gospel, McCleskey and other employees used a story cloth developed by a missionary in Nigeria that represented Bible stories from the Old and New Testament in graphic form.
“The story cloth was enormously well received,” he said. “We were amazed at how hungry the people were to hear [the gospel]. These were people who had never heard a Christian explain the gospel at all.”
While the story cloth provided a way for McCleskey and his fellow missionaries to communicate the story of God’s love to the Mandinka people, he thought it could have been even more useful if streamlined for short-term mission trips.
Designed for long-term mission trips in which missionaries live and work among a group of people for an extended amount of time, the story cloth contained pictures of Bible stories that might be confusing or difficult to explain to first-time hearers, he said.
McCleskey began developing the new story cloth, paring back various stories “that made it a whole lot more difficult to tell the story in a seamless way.” He collaborated with Rick Burton, a graphic design specialist at LifeWay, to create the actual layout, while working evenings to develop the script to go along with the new gospel tool.
McCleskey said the new story cloth can be used in any gospel presentation, particularly to non-literate people. The tool could also be used on the home mission field in Vacation Bible School or Backyard Bible Study settings, McCleskey said.
For more information on the story cloth, contact Dale McCleskey at (615) 251-3670 or [email protected]
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: STORY CLOTH.