RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–The International Orality Network, of which the International Mission Board is a sponsor, received The Mission Exchange’s Innovation in Mission Award at a Sept. 22 conference in St. Louis.
The Mission Exchange, composed of 100 evangelical, missions-sending organizations that support approximately 20,000 missionaries, praised the International Orality Network for its innovative approach to missions, breakthrough thinking, practical training and effective resources.
Beginning this year, The Mission Exchange will recognize an organization annually that excels in one of these four areas — excellence, partnership, finishing well and innovation. This year’s focus is innovation.
The International Orality Network (ION) is a group of ministries that makes the Gospel available for oral learners in culturally appropriate ways in order to facilitate church-planting movements. ION’s executive director, Avery Willis, formerly IMB’s senior vice president for overseas operations, accepted the award on behalf of the orality network during the The Mission Exchange’s “Metrics in Missions” conference.
Orality is the reliance on the spoken word as a primary means of communication. Since 60 percent of the world’s population learns orally, ION and its sponsor organizations believe that to fulfill the Great Commission the Gospel must be available to an oral audience.
The orality movement uses methods conducive to the learning style of oral learners in discipleship, evangelism, leadership training and church planting. These methods include storytelling, poems, chants, songs, riddles and proverbs.
“Other people are recognizing that this approach, that we started assessing seriously 20 years ago, is one that now is recognized widely as an innovation in missions that’s really important,” Grant Lovejoy, IMB director of orality strategy, said.
“As far as IMB is concerned, I think it is also an affirmation because we have really helped lead the way in this and some of our field personnel and staff have had a real key role in identifying orality as a factor in our effectiveness,” Lovejoy added.
For more information on IMB’s orality strategy, go to www.OralityStrategies.org and www.CBStorying.org.
Caroline Anderson is a writer for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.