Did you know 80% of the world is oral-preferenced learners vs. literate learners? I didn't either.
But this weekend I took part in a training class on orality, which is the practice of teaching the Bible through oral story-telling. I participated primarily because I love story itself, be it written or verbal (which is what keeps that 80% number from stabbing this writer in the heart.) I showed up with my notebook and laptop ready for an education on the art of effectively sharing Biblical truth without notes and charts and bullet points.
This is not what happened.
Instead, the trainers just started by telling a memorized story from God's Word. They didn't add words or details, they straight up spoke the story, as a story, as written. And then we discussed it with broad questions like, "What does this story tell us about God? About us? What does it mean for our lives?" Of course these questions led to deeper discussion, and before we were two hours in, something happened.
My notebook was gone, my analytical bullet-point mind had yielded to the experience, and a Holy encounter took place. This group of leaders for God were sharing, were crying, were learning from simple stories we've heard, read, and bludgeoned to death with those damn bullets. Life change occurred while we discussed the feeding of the five-thousand, and Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman.
It wasn't because the stories were told with finesse. Some weren't. It wasn't the vibrant scene-setting, because little to none took place before the story began. It was because the Word of God doesn't return to him without accomplishing his work. It was because the Holy Spirit got excited that His kiddos were together to open themselves to what He had to say instead of what they could dig up on their own.
I will treasure that time in my heart and fell in love all over with the Almighty Original Story-Teller, with his Word, with my brothers and sisters in Christ. The power of story sings through my veins even now.
Thank you, dearest Jesus, for story. For your story. For using story to teach us. For the Spirit to untwine the truths in your words steadily throughout our lives and experiences. Thank you that your living word is powerful and that I have the honor to read it, to share it. All my love.