Oral evangelism is back in en vogue—and that's good news for millions of people who may not otherwise understand the gospel.
According to the International Orality Network, 70 percent of the world’s population learns orally. That’s 4.35 billion people who can’t or won’t rely on written instruction for learning.
What's more, there are still 2,700 language groups that don’t have their own version of written Scripture.
Living Water International president Emeritus Jerry Wiles recently told Assist News Service that increasing numbers of churches, ministries and mission organizations are becoming interested and involved with orality. This is true for mission work in Asia, Africa and Latin America, but it is also very effective with churches in North America, Europe and Western countries.
Some key components in the success of the Christian Orality Movement are repetition and engagement to spread the gospel message. Living Water International worked to forward this movement since 2009.
In a recent Orality Training Workshop at Living Water in Houston, one attendee recognized that oral methods would work well in his prison ministry. Someone else got a revelation that they could use storying and orality in their work with the homeless and in street ministry.
“One of the things I suggest to people who want to get started in orality strategies is to learn all you can about the life, spirit, and teachings of Jesus," Wiles says. "That may sound simplistic, but He really is our best model and example of how to communicate, lead, teach, and make disciples.”
Most of the people in Jesus’ time here on earth were oral learners. Scholars tell us that only 3 percent to 12 percent of the people of that time would have had access to the Scriptures and could have read them with comprehension. So we can understand why Jesus used stories and parables, asked questions, and created relationships and community as it has been reproduced through His followers for 2,000 years.