Orality

Communicating effectively to non-readers
Author: Rick Brown
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (21.4 Winter 2004)

In seeking to free ourselves from the biases of a print-oriented culture, we need to consider, not only the kinds of media and discourse genre (e.g. narrative) that are most appropriate for oral cultures, but also the most effective ways to use those genres and media. What do non-readers like to see and hear? What do they enjoy listening to? Their choices will not necessarily be the same as those of print communicators. If the styles of presentation are ones which oral communicators prefer, then they will be more likely to listen, to understand, and to remember what they hear.

In this paper, Rick Brown argues that oral cultures have their own preferences for ways to communicate truth, and that these are often different from what print-oriented people prefer. In order to share the message most effectively, we need to find out what media and methods work best for them. In most cases this will include a multi-media approach with an emphasis on memorizing the Scriptures with the aid of high-quality recordings from skilled actors or voicers.  [more...]

How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World
Authors: Avery T Willis Jr, Mark Snowden
Published by: NavPress (2010)

"It thrills me to use Bible stories because I am actually telling people the Bible. I don't tell them some scholar's viewpoint or describe an ivory-tower argument. I let the Bible speak directly to them instead of depending on others' interpretations. The Holy Spirit interprets and applies the Bible to people's lives when we engage them with questions."

This book encourages us to "make truth stick like Velcro in a Teflon world" by using Bible stories, dialogue, drama, and songs to make disciples like Jesus did.

The focus is on the North American context, to reach the digital generation and the millions of Americans who can't, won't, or don't read.  [more...]

Taking a Hard Second Look
Author: Herbert Klem
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (12.2 Apr-Jun 1995)

It is possible that the literacy based approach as applied in non-reading communities reaches best those who most want to escape from the traditional culture into the modern world of wealth and technology, but it may not be successful in reaching the majority of the people, or the poor in many regions.

After over 150 years of literacy based mission strategy, we will still miss half the world if we continue believing that people must read in order to receive the Word.

In this article, Herbert Klem surveys mission strategy, especially that which has been literacy-based. He outlines the problems with relying on such literacy-dependent methods in reaching much of the world's population.  [more...]

Published by: International Mission Board

The next wave of missions advance: Illiterates, functionally illiterates, semi-literates, storying cultures and many others who simply prefer a nonliterate approach can receive God’s Word.

This 7 module audio CD series on Chronological Storying will prepare you to reach those who prefer a non-literate approach.

Module 1: Making Disciples of Primary Oral Learners
Module 2: Choosing to Follow Jesus
Module 3: Living in the Family of Jesus
Module 4: Becoming Like Jesus
Module 5: Serving Like Jesus
Module 6: Multiplying Spiritual Disciples and Leaders  [more...]

Communicating effectively to non-readers
Author: Rick Brown
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (21.3 Fall 2004)

It is only natural for us to bring to our work the bias of our own ways of thinking, learning, and communicating. But unless we can adapt our communications to our audience, we will limit our audience to those who think as we do. The people we want to reach, however, include many for whom reading is not an important feature of everyday life. In fact, they prefer oral modes of communication.

Many people are non-readers who are more at home with oral communication methods. Research and experiments over the last two decades have shown that oral communicators learn best when these methods are used. In this paper Rick Brown looks at some of the principles that need to be understood and their implications for communicating God’s Word.  [more...]

Author: Avery Willis (convenor)
Published by: Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization

Discover why orality is a growing phenomenon throughout the world in reaching others for Christ.

Around 70% of the world's population communicates mainly by stories, proverbs, drama, songs, poetry, and chants which all happens in a face-to-face context. Stories play an important role in forming every person's world view. Many times, Christian stories are presented in a culturally relevant way tackling basic worldview assumptions. In many cases, this may be the only way to replace or revise the audience's worldview that was learned by their stories.  [more...]

The Most Common Avenue to Increased Scripture Engagement
Author: T. Wayne Dye
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (26.3 Fall 2009)

The choice of medium can make a difference, and better artistic quality enhances any communication. However, the most important quality is how relevant the message seems to be to the lives of its hearers. If a hearer (or reader or viewer) thinks the message can make an important difference in his life, he will make an effort to listen, even if the quality is poor. Conversely, if he thinks it says nothing personally relevant, he will ignore even the best presented message. This principle of personal relevance is critical to communication.

Wayne Dye expands upon his third condition for Scripture Engagement:

Accessible forms: People are able to read the Scriptures or hear them from others or by listening to electronic media.

The article describes different ways of making the Scriptures more accessible: storying, literacy, local performing and visual arts, audio recordings, cell phones and video.  [more...]