India Orality Think Tank Report

ION is pleased to welcome Dr. Alex Philip to the Advisory Board. Dr. Philip is the President and Executive Director of the New India Evangelistic Association, and has been an integral part of beginning a new movement of orality in India. He reported on the India Orality Think Tank after being the facilitator for the event.

Orality Think Tank Report
May 13, 2016
New Delhi, India

ion-india-participantsThe first ION Orality Think Tank in India took place at the ISI, New Delhi. We were privileged to have a group of 35 participants from a wide variety of ministries in the fields of Bible translation, development, church planting & disciple-making, Theological education and media. Representatives were present from various church backgrounds, both Protestant and Catholic.

After a warm welcome from Dr. Alex Philip, the tone for the day was set by Dr. David Swarr, Executive Director of ION, who described how God is a “creative communicator” who uses oral communication methods, and who through his creation has put the “longest running media show” on display for all to see. He also described how God used oral cultural practices to teach and disciple the biblical Israelite community.

In the second session, Dr. Charles Madinger, Associate Director of ION, helped us ‘come to terms with orality’, by introducing the 7 disciplines of orality:

Arts, Culture, Literacy, Network, Memory, Language and Media


Various leaders from each of the fields represented were asked to share their experiences, concerns and needs in the area of orality. We were able to hear stories of how orality has been used in practical circumstances of community health, in evangelism in rural areas through the use of ethnoarts and storytelling, in media and also to train leaders. This was a rich time of sharing and learning from each other’s stories.

ion-india-group1After an introduction to the vision and structure of ION, our final point of discussion was the need for a further Orality Consultation with wider participation and representation from more areas of ministry in and across India. The overwhelming consensus was that such a consultation would be beneficial to the church in India, to serve as an encouragement, a forum for best practices, to engage leaders who are not yet involved with orality, and to stimulate and promote networking and collaboration. It was clearly stated by many participants that we can achieve more if working together rather than separately.

Through a generous offer from Dr. Sircar, Vice Principal (Theology) of Serampore College, the proposed date and location for this gathering is in Serampore College, January 9-11, 2017. This date and location is yet to be finalized.

ion-india-group2We are grateful to God for allowing this gathering to take place and to all those who traveled across the country to participate. Special thanks must also be given to Dr. Laji Paul and his team for their administrative facilitation of this gathering, their servant-hearted support was appreciated by all.

It was a significant encouragement to join together in this way. We are excited for God’s future plans for the establishment of His Kingdom in India and beyond, and look forward to the proposed Orality Consultation in 2017.


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