A picture (or story) to transport you

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dward-sts

The workshop ‘Simply the Story’ or in Thai ‘เล่าเรื่องเจาะใจ’ was organized in Khon Kaen for the third time. The main purpose of the workshop is to present and teach an alternative way of studying and communicating the word of God. For many years ministry efforts have been heavily based on written materials and a western method of acquiring knowledge. The majority of the world’s population prefer not to learn or communicate using written materials or are simply unable to. Much of the Bible consists of stories and very often Jesus included stories in His teaching. For these reasons it makes sense that we should make an effort to use the spoken word when communicating and teaching the Gospel.

Thai people are familiar with rote learning and might struggle to grasp more abstract logical concepts. Through ‘Simply the Story’ we learn stories and parts of the Bible by heart and we help listeners to understand the meaning of what is said by asking questions. After we have gone through a story we share what has struck us and apply any principles to our lives today. The method of communication is much more discussion style instead of one person speaking all the time. In that way it is much easier to discern where everybody is at. Another big advantage is that this method is easily reproducible. No materials are needed except the Bible. Since we not only tell a story, but really teach it, the listeners should be able to retell the story to others. In this way the word of God can spread much more quickly.

Every Simply the Story workshop is very practical. During the workshop we explain the need for more oral methods. Participants also hear many testimonies of how stories have impacted the lives of people. Other than that participants learn at least 8 – 10 stories by heart and hear many more. In small groups participants learn a story together for about 1.5 hours. By using questions, without the use of other books or commentaries, participants will together discover what the Holy Spirit wants to communicate through that story or passage. Lastly, one person of the group will go and tell this story to one of the other groups as a means of practicing their storytelling skills.

An exciting and fun part of the workshop is when we go out on the street in twos and threes and tell one of the stories we’ve prepared beforehand. After that we come back and report how it went. It is always very encouraging to hear how people are touched by a story and how a story opens up a way to communicate something about God to others. We continue to explore where and how storytelling can be used best and we plan for next year’s workshop to be led by Thai people who have received further training.

If you would like to know more about storytelling you can have a look at:

www.simplythestory.org or facebook/เล่าเรื่องเจาะใจ or chiang-mai-orality.net

Photo source: dward@flickr.com

David & Grea van der Lee

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