11 Oct Update from the Office of the Executive Director
Growth in ION South East Asia
The orality community is celebrating exponential growth in recent months within South East Asia. Flowing out of the regional conference last November, an additional six national orality gatherings have been held stimulating orality initiatives across the region.
In August, in partnership with the Asia Graduate School of Theology, the Asian Seminary of Christian Ministries, ION South East Asia and the friends of the orality movement launched a program on Oral Communications—a presentation of the Center for Instructional Strategies and Oral Communications in the Philippines. Forty leaders from churches and missions entities attended the launch. This is a strategically important, first-of-its-kind program which will contribute to raising a new strand of laborers in the harvest field. A two-day orientation to the program will be held in October and formal classes will begin next year.
Youth Ignite Movement in ION Africa
One of the most encouraging things to emerge from the orality gathering in Zambia earlier this year was the engagement and excitement of the younger generation. Since this event they have been carrying orality principles into numerous activities, visiting many schools to mobilize students for Christ. The November ION Africa Consultation in South Africa anticipates 120+ participants, 50 of those being young people. Funding is required to facilitate travel, so let us lift up this gathering in prayer as the Lord makes the way for a younger generation.
Most recently, over August 21-23, the ION Africa team conducted a consultation in the DRC. This French-speaking gathering had been in the works for months; now our hope and prayer is that momentum from this gathering creates profound partnerships and relationships that will continue to stir growth in the region. See here for a more in-depth report on this gathering.
ION North America - Orlando Conference
Conversations from the Orlando, Florida (September 17-19) conference are still fresh. The focus this year was Orality: Many Applications—One Mandate.The theme was addressed through a variety of practical workshops, several deaf attendees with sign language interpreters, discussion on trauma healing, and three different sessions about the Gateways.This is the largest annual orality gathering in North America, and we were blessed by an anointed time of sharing and collaboration. Find a more detailed report on the conference here.
We are pleased to welcome two new additions to the ION International Council:
- Justin Randolph is joining Roce Anog as Senior Associate for the Arts and Culture Gateway. Justin serves in Eurasia and Southeast Asia with SIL International as an EthnoArts Consultant and the EthnoArts Coordinator for SIL Eurasia. The Arts and Culture Gateway leaders are actively pursuing expansion of the leadership team with associates around the globe.
- Rob Harvey is joining Bramuel Musya as Senior Associate for the Storying Gateway. Rob serves as a facilitator for STREAM—a vibrant roundtable for orality practitioners in storying, translation, equipping and mobilization.
- The Media Gateway, facilitated by Graydon Colville has formed a leadership team, and further information will be forthcoming as the team sets its objectives for the coming year.
Updated Vision & Mission Statement
Through a process of prayerful deliberation by the ION International Council we have updated the Network’s Vision and Mission Statement:
- Vision: Every oral communicator freely following Jesus
- Mission: Influencing the Body of Christ to encourage all oral communicators to follow Jesus
Since its beginning, the Network has grown exponentially in both size and function. We believe these new statements capture that growth, expressing the goal of the Network with sensitivity and precision.
Coming up in 2019: Back to Orality: Embodying Jesus in post-textual Europe
For centuries, European Christianity has been shaped by a strong, over-arching cultural norm: reading! Believers are encouraged to read the Bible and Christian books while ministers form their preaching and service by studying commentaries and works of theology. In fact, the impact of the printed page is more significant than most of us imagine; literacy shapes the very way we process our thoughts and determines how we communicate.
However, across Europe, there are a growing number of communities who use very different forms of communication. Alongside indigenous populations who have always had an oral culture, there are diaspora groups for whom a writing-based culture is not the norm. There is also a growing group of secondary oral communicators—people whose communications are often screen-based and whose thoughts are not shaped by longer texts.
If we want to see Christ take root in these cultures and for his church to grow and thrive, we will need to learn how to communicate with people who think very differently. This is not simply a case of adopting a new fashionable communication technique, but of learning to orientate ourselves to a different way of thinking altogether.
Europe is increasingly a post-textual society and we need to learn together how to bear witness to Christ in this changing world. The conference Back to Orality: Embodying Jesus in a post-textual Europe will seek to draw academics, church leaders and people from the mission community to learn how to embody the love and message of Christ in primarily oral communities. Alongside presentations from experts in the field, there will be ample time for discussion, questions and sharing.