Jerry Wiles on The Power of Image, Narrative and Repetition

The Righteous will Flourish like a Palm Tree, and Bear Fruit in Old Age

More than 45 years ago I heard a message delivered by the late Pat Zondervan.  The message was based on the uniqueness and attributes of the Palm Tree, from Psalm 92:12, which says, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree.”  It is amazing how much we can remember when there is effective use of image, narrative and repetition. There is a growing recognition that storytelling is a powerful method of communication.  Business leaders are using storytelling for improving corporate culture as well as communicating their vision, mission and values.  Some church and mission leaders are also becoming aware and using image, storytelling and narrative-based communication strategies.

Orality Movement

Having been involved in the Orality Movement over the years, I am increasingly aware of the ways we learn, communicate, process information and remember things. In our Orality Training we emphasize that when we use orality-based communication methods, we use a different part of our brains than when we read texts or use print-based instructional material. Studies show that storytelling and other oral art forms activate our brains and enhance memory.

Lessons from Liberia

One of the observations we made several years ago in an Orality Training in Liberia was the difference in the ways people responded and retained information. In a Bible Storying Workshop with more than 100 people, about half of the participants had their Bibles, note pads and pens, while the other half had none, as they were non-literate/oral learners.  At the end of the day of training, we observed that the Oral learners were able to learn and retell the stories better than the literate participants. The Oral learners were more accustomed to hearing, discussing and repeating the stories, whereas the literate ones depended more on text-based methods. It is important to note that even among highly educated and literate populations, orality-based methods can enhance the learning experience and the ability to retain information.

The Mother of all Learning

It may seem like common knowledge, but it is valuable to practice a well-known concept.  That is, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” In our training strategies we emphasis the benefits of learning a little, practicing a lot and telling the stories often.  It is better to know a little that we share a lot, than to know a lot that we keep to ourselves.  A common theme we use is, “Keep the faith, just don’t keep it to yourself.”  More repetition, learning in community and the use of imaginary are great lessons anyone can benefit from.

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SOURCE: Assist News Service