FTH6210EN - Issues in Biblical Storytelling in Oral Cultures

Course description

This course will be especially helpful for those who want to learn how to use biblical storytelling in cross-cultural contexts, and who wish to train others as storytellers. The student will become familiar with the biblical, historical, pedagogical and cultural perspectives of storytelling as well as its practical application in evangelism, discipling and church-planting.

How this course benefits students

Most Christian workers still use literate methods even though these often prove inadequate for reaching oral learners. Among the more serious drawbacks are incongruence with local learning styles, lack of reproducibility and the fact that such methods may engender resistance because of their foreignness. Whether we consider the large number of nonliterate people groups or the postmodern generation that is often postliterate as well, biblical storytelling can have an important part to play in the mix of strategies for reaching people today.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Film & Theatre Studies
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Donald Barger, Professor of Biblical Storytelling

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The preponderance of narrative in the Scriptures suggests that the most common way of recalling and passing God's revealed truth to others was through hearing and telling stories. It is the model that was used by Jesus, the master storyteller, to share his message with people.

Missionally driven

The majority of still unreached peoples in the world today are oral learners who cannot be reached through literate presentations of the gospel. Over the past several decades God has been restoring the ancient-future practice of storytelling as a way to communicate the gospel to these nonliterate people groups as well as to the postmodern generation that is often postliterate.

Contextually informed

Storytelling is as old as history and yet as modern as the latest Hollywood film. Whether gathered around a village campfire listening to a traveling storyteller recount enchanting tales or sitting in a theater watching a block buster movie with spectacular computerized effects, people everywhere are fascinated by stories.

Interculturally focused

The cognitive style of oral learners is so distinct as to require a dramatically different approach to communicating the gospel. Because many present-day oral cultures resemble cultures that are found in the Bible, biblical storytelling greatly simplifies the task of communicating the gospel message.

Practically minded

This course is built on field experience grounded in personal observations and data gathered while training storytellers. It is not just an academic look at storying but represents years of field application in multiple language groups and cultures.

Experientially transformed

This course will require the student to do an integrative project paper. The goal is to demonstrate the ability to recall and apply the concepts they have been taught through the course to a specific context.