The following is a chapter from the book ‘Orality Breakouts – Using Heart Language to Transform Hearts‘. A chapter will be posted here each week.
Section 2 – The Word Became Fresh
Listen then to what the parable of the Sower means. – Matthew 13:18
What we are living in is a century of idea diffusion. – Seth Godin
Ideas take time to spread and embed. They yearn for a nest to grow and a climate to flourish. To prevail, they must address today’s questions and make a difference—and they need a culture that will stay with them until crucial tipping points are reached and new practices adopted.
Creating the right environment for growth is challenging. It cannot be done singularly, or as a one-time event. The right environment needs repeated cultivation and regular opportunities for participation. At the end of the last section we posed some questions on the process of change needed to embrace the philosophy and practice of oral mission. These questions asked you to consider thoughts like: Who else needs to be involved in your discussions? Where are the resistance points to change? How can things be measured differently? and Do you know the language of the heart in your setting so that you can communicate what differences orality will make?
Ron Green, Executive Director of StoryRunners, an organization deeply committed to oral strategies in mission, has seen accelerated growth in the last five years in the number of Oral Bible Projects launched. Five years ago, StoryRunners had just nine projects underway; by 2009, this had already grown to sixty-two. Green recognizes that prayer and God’s leading are together growing the ministry to oral communicators. He also shared that people in certain areas which have seldom responded to StoryRunners training are now immediately inviting them back because of effectiveness of using oral strategies. As Green describes it, “Orality is like a virus and is spreading very fast.” His informed observation confirms research that shows the emergence of faith movements among many people groups, including previously hard-to-reach Muslim communities.1 This is very encouraging.
The chapters in this section concentrate on oral strategies that are having a powerful effect among diverse people groups in very different geographical contexts around the world. You’ll read how trusted colleagues have put oral ideas into practice and have seen God at work in impressive ways.
Come and step into their remarkable stories.
1 Rick Brown, Bob Fish, John Travis, Eric Adams, and Don Allen, “Movements and Contextualization: Is There Really a Correlation?” International Journal of Frontier Missions 26 (Spring 2009): 29-31 (accessed 14 July 2010).