1970s

Marshall McLuhan studies the influence of communication media independent of their content.

The Jesus Film is launched.

Mark and Gloria Zook of the New Tribes Mission (NTM) pioneer work in Bible storytelling with an oral preference people group of Papua New Guinea.

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1980s

Trevor McIlwain shares the chronological Bible teaching method with other NTM missionaries in the Philippines, who use it with tribal people there and have similar results.

Jim Slack (IMB), of the Southern Baptist Convention in the Philippines, begins developing chronological Bible storying that utilizes storytelling followed by dialogue.

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1990s

Jim Slack and J.O. Terry continue to revise and introduce the storytelling approach to missionaries and partners around the world.

Teams begin developing oral strategies to reach oral preference communicators.

They are trained by organizations such as VMS (of SIL) and Scriptures in Use.

Several consultations are conducted with CCCI, IMB, SIL and UBS in Kenya, Cyprus and England that bring a growing awareness of oral preference communication and learning among unreached people groups.

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2000s

“Table 71” is formed at the Amsterdam Conference on Evangelism to work together in partnership among the remaining unreached people groups of the world.

The question is asked, “How do we make disciples of oral learners?” after learning that 80% of the world are oral preference learners.

Avery Willis and Paul Eshleman of JFP convene an orality consultation that results in the formation of the Oral Bible Network (OBN).

The Making Disciples of Oral Learners Working Group is formed at the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand.

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2005

The Making Disciples of Oral Learners Working Group merges together with OBN becoming the International Orality Network (ION) with the mission to radically influence the way oral preference communicators are evangelized and discipled in every people group.

Avery Willis is seconded from the IMB to be the International Director of ION.

ION and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) jointly publish Making Disciples of Oral Learners, a book written by the working group at the 2004 LCWE consultation in Thailand.

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2009

ION receives the Innovation in Missions Award of The Missions Exchange in the context of the values of excellence, innovation, partnership and finishing well.

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2010

The International Orality Network is saddened to see the home going of its founder Avery Willis prior to the 2010 Lausanne Congress in Cape Town.

Samuel E. Chiang becomes the Executive Director.

A follow-up book to Making Disciples of Oral Learners is published in 2010 called Orality Breakouts: Using Heart Language to Transform Hearts.

ION becomes officially docked with the Missions Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).

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2011

The West Africa Orality Network is launched under the leadership of Dr. Bauta Motty.

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2012

The ION consultation held at Estes Park celebrates the 10th anniversary based on the landmark consultation in 2002.

The East Africa Orality Network is launched under the leadership of Bramuel Musya.

The first global consultation on theological education and orality is held at the Billy Graham Centre at Wheaton College.

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2013

The Orality Journal is launched.

ION's website orality.net is made available to the public.

Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary serves as hosting the location for a consultation on orality and non-formal training.

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2014

A new book is published: Beyond Literate Western Practices: Continuing Conversations on Orality and Theological Education.

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2015

Beyond Literate Western Contexts: Honor & Shame and Assessment of Orality Preference is published and provisioned in both hard copies and a digital version on Kindle.

Dr. David Swarr is appointed International Executive Director of ION.

ION Philippines is launched.

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