Is Orality Really Effective In Sharing the Gospel?

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o·ral·i·ty: the quality of being spoken or verbally communicated

Increasing numbers of church and mission leaders are beginning to pay more attention to the orality movement that has emerged over the past 40 years. Some would say that the movement is one of the most significant breakthroughs that has taken place in the church/mission world over the last 500 years. Others have said that it’s changing the face of missions around the world.

These are bold statements and may seem to be overstatements or exaggerations. However, those who have been involved with or observed the movement over any length of time usually agree that God is in fact doing remarkable things in this time of history through the movement.

An interesting phenomenon we often observe is the creativity and innovation that the Holy Spirit gives to those who are properly trained in orality-based methods and strategies. There is an increased recognition of the multiple applications of the concepts, principles, and practices of orality. The mission/purpose statement of the International Orality Network is “Influencing the Body of Christ to make disciples of all oral learners.”

In other words, the ultimate objective in the Great Commission is communicating the gospel to everyone, everywhere, and making disciples among all people groups. That is introducing people to a vital relationship with the Living God and nurturing them to become reproducing followers of Jesus. An important consideration is doing so in ways that are biblical, international, cross-cultural, and reproducible.

On our learning journey in the orality movement, we are discovering many aspects and applications of orality methods and strategies. A very significant feature is simplicity and reproducibility. Actually, orality-based methods are the most effective ways and means that people have learned, communicated, and processed information from the beginning of time. However, in some ways, they have been neglected for the past few hundred years.

While communicating the gospel and making disciples is the heart and core of the movement, consider some of the other ways that orality is being used today. One example is the newly formed Orality in Business Network, connecting with the Business as Mission movement, as well as with many other alliances, networks, and associations. Many are discovering that orality training can be applied to areas such as small business coaching, organizational development, improving corporate culture, and team building. Other applications can include communication skills, sales, and marketing, etc.

There are those who are using orality methods and storytelling with family devotions and finding them more effective than the more traditional print-based methods. A university professor who attended an orality training workshop began using some of the techniques in his classes and said the students responded much better than they had to his lecture model of instruction.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Jerry Wiles is the North America Regional Director of the International Orality Network and President Emeritus of Living Water International.