Orality Missiology: Being “On Mission with God”

By Jerry Wiles


HOUSTON, TX (ANS – March 13, 2018) — Avery Willis and Henry Blackaby popularized the phrase “On Mission with God” several years ago through their books and other resource materials by that title. It has been a delight and tremendous blessing to have known and benefited from both of their lives and ministries.

Furthermore, I had the opportunity back in the 1970s to spent time with a number of others who were influential in the Jesus Movement, the Asbury Revival and the campus renewals or awakenings during that period. Some of those were Bertha Smith, W. Ian Thomas, C.L. Culpepper, Norman Grubb, Manley Beasley, Jack Taylor, Adrian Rogers and Ron Dunn, to name a few. There are many more who are lesser known but have had major impact in advancing the Kingdom of God.

The Fun of Telling Stories

Most of the major companies, ministries and mega churches can be traced back to some unknown or little-known individual who had an influence that had great impact. When we, as followers of Jesus, are available to the Holy Spirit and on mission with God, we can expect to be used in ways beyond our imaginations. Years ago, I heard a message by my pastor at the time, the late Adrian Rogers titled “God’s Hall of Faith,” where he illustrated this principle of how little things and little people can have great impact for the Kingdom of God.

Samuel Chadwick has also pointed out how the history of the Church is filled with these anomalies. He wrote, “Inadequate men are always doing impossible things, and ordinary men achieve extraordinary results. (That would include women of course). God’s biggest things seem to be done by the most unlikely people.”

Conversations Change Lives

Some may be thinking, how does this relate to Orality Missiology? Well, having conversations, telling your story (your testimony) and sharing the Gospel, all may seem like simple things. However, the simple things that all of us can do are universal and transferable to all places and people. When we are well equipped with Orality-based communication and training skills, we can be salt and light to our families, neighbors, co-workers and friends, as well as all other human connections.

Oral strategies of communicating the Gospel and making disciples are critical when it comes to mission efforts in the most restricted and difficult places on the planet. In relation to mission strategy to unreached and unengaged people groups, Bible translation and literacy programs are vital.

The Power of Engagement

However, when our methods and strategies are Orality-based, it can expedite the disciple making process. Many Bible translation programs are now realizing the value of going Oral to Oral and how it can increase the effectiveness of text-based and literate methods.

It goes without saying, but would be important to remind ourselves that our best model and example for being “On Mission with God” is the Lord Jesus. Consider how He communicated, trained and made disciples. He told stories and parables, He asked questions, created relationships and community. His methods and strategies were reproduced by His followers, and they work today. It’s really a matter of rediscovering the most effective ways that people have learned and communicated from the beginning of time.

A great lesson for me has been to realize that the same God who lived in Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago, now lives in each of us who are born of His Spirit. The same Holy Spirit is prepared to work through each of us as we remain available to Him. Major Ian jerry-wilesThomas use to say, “All that He is, is available to us, to the degree that we are available to Him.” Every follower of Jesus has the capacity to be greatly used in His redemptive activity today.

As Henry Blackaby has said, “Identify the activity of God and join Him.” We are on an amazing learning journey, and perhaps on the verge of the greatest move of God in all of history.

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].


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