ION Africa Jos Conference: Day 3



17TH-20TH JULY, 2017



The West African Orality Consultation, held in Jos, Nigeria, came to a climax with discussions centred on sharing the impact of using orality in sharing the gospel and making disciples among oral learners in Africa. Dr. Victor Madziakpita and Dr. Bauta Motty shared personal experiences about the impact of orality in their various ministries. They emphasized the need for integrated missions (proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and demonstrating the gospel of Jesus Christ). One thing that stood out from the sessions was the fact that orality remains the preferred method of education and disciple making for maximum impact. Unless we speak to the mindset of people, we have not yet.


As Dr.Victor Madziakpita rightly pointed out, orality has greatly impacted communities in Africa. A Muslim girl received Christ at a well in Liberia after she was told stories from the Bible. A volleyball coach taught stories during their training sessions and his team grew rapidly. After the Rwandan genocide, the orality network organized a consultation for Church leaders, and they got reconciled and determined to unite themselves irrespective of their differences. As a result of the use of orality, people were raised to speak against the early marriage and forced sexual relationships in Zimbabwe. Also, orality led to the planting of over a hundred churches in Burkina Faso by Evangelist Jean Luis, and a well was dug to relieve the people of Balingo community from trekking 10kms to fetch water.

Dr. Bauta Motty shared how the use of an audio device with memory verses, songs, and proverbs greatly helped the HIV awareness campaign of the Voice of Humanity (an NGO from the USA), to reach out to communities in Kano. Also, Dr. Motty had preached a sermon in 1988, but he met a member of the church in 2008 who remembered and recounted the whole story to him. This is why Motty believes that indigenous discipleship is one effective way of communicating the gospel and raising disciples in Africa, since story telling helps people to explain mysterious concepts and solve difficult problems.

Thereafter, Bramuel Musya and Charles Madinger led through a session of interactive discussions on the impacts of orality, as well as provided participants with information and benefits of becoming members of International Orality Network (ION). Stressing that there are four levels of membership and their annual dues respectively: individual =$30; organizational (Nationally) =$250; continental =$500; and international organizations =$1000. Also, a general evaluation of the consultation was done by participants in conclusion.


While orality is proposed as a preferable method of reaching people for maximum impact, only God can truly bring impact in people.

To touch lives, there is a need to recognize how people receive, process, remember and pass on what they are taught. Reliance on oral communication transform how people learn.

Contrary to popular belief, orality is not for the poor and uneducated. In fact, even the rich and educated are oral beings and learn orally (literacy has never been the test for intelligence).

Orality is not also a return to primitive ways of educating people, it is returning to a reliable method and approach for effective impact.

The best way to revolutionize formal education is to bring in elements of informal education (modelling and mentoring, as opposed to just lecturing). Thus, the basis of effective formal education is an effective informal education.

Orality is a movement that has united churches, developed communities and transformed individuals in Africa and beyond.

Sometimes, the best way to make God’s word come alive to people is to tell it as a story. This is because storytelling “activates the conscience, lubricates the mind, and empowers reflective thinking” (Motty).


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