Orality in the time of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives touching most everyone in the world. This has demanded creativity so that we could continue to minister to people in this changing reality. Orality, (telling Bible stories and finding their treasures through questions) has taken a surprising turn during this time.
In Guinea, before the pandemic, Pastor Pierre began to plant a new church using Orality Principles and methods. They began by telling stories from family courtyard to courtyard in the neighborhoods. Soon a group was meeting at a borrowed school classroom. Their message or sermon was a story that the whole group would process together with a simple set of questions, letting the Holy Spirit speak to each of them and through them to each other. They would learn the story together and then be challenged to go out and tell the story to others. In a few months they had grown to a group of close to 90 people.
Then COVID-19 caused all church meetings in Guinea to be stopped. Meetings of over 10-12 were not allowed. But Pierre had already begun training a group of believers to be able to go and tell stories from household to household. So this group was now ready to hold the Sunday church meetings in 5+ house churches so the majority of the church was meeting at the same time to worship each week. In Guinea internet is not available so streaming church is not an option, but Orality allowed the church to continue! In fact, another local CMA church heard about what Pierre was doing and asked him to train people in their church so that they could do the same thing!
In the Cote d’Ivoire, Pastor David, is a pastor who loves to use Scripture stories to minister to his large church. Just prior to the pandemic, he went to one nearby district and trained a group of pastors and lay leaders to use stories. Then COVID-19 hit! When we talked to him this last week, he told how the district leader called him to tell him how much that training had helped the whole district to be able to deal with the COVID-19 lockdowns in their district. Praise the Lord!
Around the World:
Sometimes you are not willing to try new solutions until you can no longer function in your normal mode. I had maintained that you could not train people in Orality except in face to face trainings. When COVID-19 hit, the men’s Sunday School class in our local church that uses orality principles tried using Zoom for our class. I was amazed at how natural it was and how we lost almost nothing by not being in the same room physically.
So my wife and I tried a small Zoom orality training to see if it would work. The initial training went very well and we were invited by the CMA Orality leaders to do trainings in parts of the world that needed more IW’s and nationals trained in Orality. In the Latin American region 19 came together; in Asia Pacific there were 11 and something like 13 in Europe/Middle East/Africa. We were able to train people in distant places without leaving our home in Toccoa!
Orality in the USA?
Thanks to Zoom it is now possible for local churches to ask for a training in times that work for them, and then add in other believers from churches all over the states who can come at that time. They can follow the training without leaving their home! God has brought good through this devastating time of our lives. We are so grateful.
If you are interested in participating in a three-day online orality training via Zoom, contact Craig Hanscome at firstname.lastname@example.org