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Can I Tell You a Story?

by Pioneers-USA

Pioneers around the world long to see disciple-making movements, with churches built on the foundation of believers embracing, obeying, and sharing Scripture. Julie*, a Pioneer in Africa, paints a picture of the how the process may begin.

 

It’s pretty simple, in a way. “When I’m working one on one with a woman, I try to identify stories from God’s Word that speak to where she is, and then teach her those stories and study them together to the point that she can tell them to someone else.”

 

But this takes a different kind of preparation than other approaches to making disciples. “When I teach a story, I memorize it,” says Julie. She makes sure she knows the story well, herself. When she meets with the woman she’s discipling, she’s ready to tell her the story and explore it with her.

 

“I’ll tell the story, slowly, once. I’ll tell it again. Then I’ll say, ‘Let’s go through the story again together. So Jesus was with his disciples… And what happened? Where’d they go? What happened next? Was there something that happened on that road as they were going along? Did somebody say something to Jesus? What did he say?’ I give them prompts.”

 

“And then I’ll say, ‘Okay, now you tell me the story.’” By that time the woman will have heard the story anywhere from four to six times. It’s sinking in—for both of them. Julie sees the scriptures come alive before her eyes and the eyes of her African friend. And she knows no greater joy than when one of her friends “gets” the story and sees something in it for herself.

 

But the process doesn’t stop there.

 

Julie asks what they learned and who else could benefit from it. She encourages her friends to tell others—her husband, if he’s open and her children, relatives or neighbors.

 

Sharing what they learn encourages a subtle shift of perspective. When a group of women gathered for a few days to learn about Bible storytelling, they looked at passages like Luke 10:2, where Jesus tells his followers the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few, instructing them to ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers for the harvest. “The application that they came up with was ‘We need to pray for more missionaries and pastors,’” says Julie, a little disappointed.

 

As they grew more confident in their ability to learn and share scripture, they saw the story—and themselves—differently. They realized that gospel ministry wasn’t just for pastors and missionaries. They recognized that they could be the answer to that prayer. “Maybe somebody already prayed and I’m supposed to be one of the people that goes out into the harvest field.”

 

Please lift up men and women like in contexts like the one where Julie serves. May they be drawn to the Word of God, learning and sharing Bible stories in their communities?

 

» Learn more of Julie’s story in A Ministry of Presence and explore opportunities to share the gospel and make disciples in more than 100 countries where Pioneers works.

 

* Name has been changed. 

 

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