A pre-conference session held on Monday, 16 Sep, focused on demonstrating various Bible storytelling methods and presented an apologetic for the importance of oral communications. Repeated studies show that 65-85% of the world’s population prefer oral communications. These are either primary oral communicators who have little or no exposure to print, or secondary oral communicators who may know how to read, but prefer to learn by listening or watching. Yet, most mission funding focuses on literate methods to promote the Gospel.
Orality scholars and practitioners believe employing more oral communicator friendly methods will leverage a greater impact on spreading the Gospel.
The plenary sessions spanned the first two days, 17 & 18 Sep. Seven speakers gave presentations covering each of the “Seven Disciplines of Orality.” ION defines these as:
- Culture: How do I tailor my message to be sensitive to the worldview of those listening?
- Language: How can my use of language serve to avoid a communication gap and actually forge connections to those listening?
- Literacy: How can I assess whether those listening understand, accept, and use the information I intended to deliver?
- Memory: How can I make the stories of Scripture unforgettable to myself and to those who want to hear them?
- Networks: How can I ensure that my message will spread to a larger audience?
- Arts: How can I package my message so that it will be widely accepted and have its full effect?
- Media: How can I use media more effectively to communicate my message?
The final day and a half featured break-out meetings concentrating on special aspects of presenting Bible stories. Regina reports that a new development particularly caught her attention—the rise of the “digitoral” communicator.
This is a person who knows how to read, and may even be well educated, but uses video and audio formats as their primary learning tools. The increasing capability of the Internet and connecting devices to handle multi-media bandwidth demands fuels this trend. The number of secondary oral communicators grows. Training Christian leaders to teach the way Jesus did, must do the same.