by Connie Seale, an Alliance international worker serving in Kosovo
Experts say that two-thirds of the world’s population learn best when principles are conveyed through story. They don’t absorb information well when reading printed material (if they can read) or hearing a lecture given in a Western academic format.
While this fact has implications in many aspects of society, the one closest to my heart is how to explain biblical truth. I want to do all I can to teach the Bible in a way that others can comprehend.
Connecting the Dots
During my first term in Kosovo, I saw that although my team and I worked diligently to teach the Bible, many believers struggled to apply the truths of Scripture. They could repeat what they learned, but it had little effect in their daily lives or relationships.
Then at Council 2013, I attended a seminar about orality and storytelling. As I heard the difference between oral preference learners and print preference learners, it all made sense. I had not considered that Kosovars could be primarily oral learners because most of them are literate. But sitting in that seminar, the dots began to connect in my head.
Once I returned to Kosovo for my second term, I began asking our C&MA Global Orality coordinator how to move forward with orality. I attended two training workshops that equipped me to envision this style of teaching and know how to get started. I returned to my team and shared my burden for orality and the process of developing sets of Bible stories in Albanian (the language spoken by Kosovars). They all encouraged me to move forward.
I am now beginning to develop a story set with a redemptive theme that I hope God will use to draw both believers and nonbelievers to Himself. Working with OneStory, a partnership of several organizations including The Alliance, I will work with a consultant who will guide me in maintaining the integrity of Scripture and testing the stories for naturalness and reproducibility.
Using native speakers to develop the stories is key. Although I speak Albanian well, as a foreigner I will always phrase things differently from a Kosovar. This way, the stories will be more instinctive for Kosovars to learn and share.
The first step to develop a story set is selecting a redemptive theme (for example, Jesus the Promised King) and choosing stories from the Old and New Testaments and a prophecy that connects the two. Then I will work with Kosovars to craft, test, and revise the stories.
Another key aspect of storying is helping the hearers to glean truth from it. Discussion and community learning experiences are crucial for oral learners. So after telling a story and helping participants learn it, there are five key questions for discussing and applying the story:
- What did we learn about God?
- What did we learn about mankind?
- What did you like about the story?
- What troubled you about the story?
- How can you apply this story to your life?
Will you join with me in prayer for this process? I need wisdom in choosing a redemptive theme for this story set and also the specific stories to include.
Please also pray that God will direct me in selecting story crafters and testers who will do well in these roles. I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do among the Kosovars as His Word goes forth among them in a way more conducive to their learning style.