Skip to toolbar
 

Lessons from the Original Jesus Movement

By Jerry Wiles

Consider how the Gospel spread throughout the entire populated world in the First Century, before the invention of the radio, television, the internet, or the printing press.  Think about how God preserved the accuracy of His message (His Word) in predominantly Oral Cultures before it became a written text. How did Jesus communicate His message and train His disciples?  How did Jesus’ disciples reproduce His message that has now resulted in more than 2 billion on the planet who identify with the Christian faith?  (Recognizing, of course, that many identify themselves as Christians, but still are not true followers of Jesus).  All of these are important topics and questions to consider relative to what it will take to complete our Lord’s Great Commission, to communicate the Good News of Jesus to every person and to make disciples among all people groups.

A most important question

A few years ago in a conversation with a leader of a major Christian ministry, we discussed these and other related topics and questions.  One of his comments was, “I haven’t thought about that, no one has ever asked me those questions.”  My immediate thought was, perhaps we should be asking those questions and have those conversations with more church, ministry and mission leaders.  One of the most important questions to consider, for those who are serious about obeying all the commands of Jesus, is “How do most people best receive, understand, respond to and reproduce the message of the Gospel?”  The majority of the people of the world, even today, are Oral learners and communicators by necessity or preference, and will not be reached by modern, Western (especially text-based) styles of communication.  The lessons we can learn from the rapidly reproducing disciple-making and church planting movements (mostly in the Global South) and from the Early Church, are more relevant to spreading the Gospel today than much of the Post-Reformation and Modern Western methods.

Back to basics

From our learning journey with Living Water International, the International Orality Network, and other mission organizations, it’s encouraging to see people come alive with new excitement and vision for mission and ministry impact.  Sharing the Gospel and making disciples is not as complicated as it has become in many Church traditions in North America and the Western World.  Proper Orality Training can equip ordinary followers of Jesus with skills that are biblical, understandable and reproducible to all places and every people group on earth.  Reproducibility is vital to fostering multiplication movements.

A pastor in an African country participated in one of Living Water International’s Orality Training for Trainers (OT4T) events.  The very next week back in his home community,  he trained more than 30 other pastors in the Orality methods he had just learned.  A few months later we received reports of how the churches in that region were experiencing more growth and reproducing church planting efforts, as a result of implementing the Orality Training.

Might this be universal?

Churches and mission movements around the world are discovering how Orality Strategies are enhancing their integral mission and community development efforts.  USA-based ministries and churches are effectively using concepts and principles of Orality in sharing the Gospel and making disciples in prisons, nursing homes,  among street gangs, and with refugee and immigrant communities, international students, mission trips, to name a few.

As the community of learning and practice in the Orality domain continues to grow, mission and church leaders around the world are recognizing its depth, breadth and multi-faceted aspects and applications for multiplying disciple-making and church planting movements, locally and globally.

jerry-wiles

Jerry Wiles is President Emeritus of Living Water International and serves on the advisory council and leadership team of the International Orality Network. He can be reached at: [email protected].

 

Related Content

Upcoming Events

  • Online STRIKE – Strategy Technology Resource In Kingdom Expansion

    August 4 @ 3:00 pm - September 3 @ 5:00 pm UTC+8

    The Online STRIKE is a three-day version of the onsite event.  This certificated training covers the following topics: The History of Bible Translation and MAST Forms of Bible Translation (Oral, Written, Deaf & Blind) Integrated Theory Training Bible Translation Tools - BTT Writer, BTT Recorder...

  • Story Telling & Story Development Workshops

    August 28 @ 3:00 pm - September 1 @ 1:00 pm UTC+0 at Windsor at Westside, Kissimmee, Florida

    Have you ever wanted to learn how to share oral Bible stories in ministry and evangelism? The StoryRunners Orlando School of Storying is a two-part intensive workshop. Part one, the Story Telling Workshop, is focused on learning and using oral stories in personal ministry and...

  • Discovering and learning oral teaching methods

    September 21 @ 9:00 am - October 2 @ 1:30 pm CEST at WEC International Germany

    Orality is not merely about communicating verbally instead of writing, but it is about thinking patterns, what kind of information seems relevant and interesting, how is information remembered and how is it passed on to others. 70% of the world population are oral learners, either...

  • Reaching the New Marginalized and the Further Marginalized

    October 5 @ 8:00 am - October 8 @ 5:00 pm UTC+0

    ION ZOOM-TABLE: "Reaching the New Marginalized and the Further Marginalized." 5 Global Leaders discuss with you how we, the new digitally elite of the world, can reciprocally connect with those at the margins.  Join the gallery, ask questions and enter break-outs to discuss and plan. The...

View All Events
 
Join the ION Community!

Notice: Undefined variable: royal_prettyphoto_tab_url in /var/www/vhosts/orality.net/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/rt-prettyphoto/rt-prettyphoto.php on line 175

Notice: Undefined variable: royal_prettyphoto_text_for_tab in /var/www/vhosts/orality.net/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/rt-prettyphoto/rt-prettyphoto.php on line 175