Simply the Story (STS) Continues to Rise
The usefulness and effectiveness of STS in teaching the Bible, as well as its reproducibility, is seen in these excerpts from responses to USA workshops.
"All I can say is, I've been spoiled for the ordinary following learning STS--I can't help it!
When I sit in a church service now, I'm taking the passage that's been read aloud and begun an internal dialogue, asking questions and gleaning sweet morsels to take home with me! I like it a lot!"
Teach Us Another Story
“For the workshop and the lessons I learned, thanks. I taught Feeding of the 5,000 to my best friend, who is our Ends of the Earth leader, my Sunday school class, and to our mission team heading off to Tanzania. “I keep hearing, ‘Can you teach us another story?’”
Career Man in Ministry Gives His View
After attending a STS workshop, Ray Neu, a Missionary/Pastor /Teacher, who ministers in Belize wrote his thoughts regarding the workshop to some of his co-workers who serve in Asia. He forwarded his letter to our STS Headquarters.
"The God's Story project has expanded their tools beyond just the God's Story video. Simply The Story or STS is not a video - it is an oral teaching that simply and ONLY uses Bible stories directly as they come from the Bible. An instructor repeats the story, a parable, or narrative, or whatever it may be, as accurately as they can, then asks for a volunteer to repeat what they can. This begins to engage the audience. The next step is to walk the entire group thru the story together by prompting them to retell
the story one piece at a time, in order.
"Then the instructor leads the group thru a conversation of discovering treasures - first spiritual observations from what they see happening in the story. No outside information is allowed and any suggested observations must come ONLY from each individual story. (One potential allowance is if another story has recently been taught, but this should be limited.)
"The final stage is to seek spiritual applications from the story as it relates to us today."
"The results that Dorothy and many others around the globe are reporting are extremely encouraging. I sat with a pretty impressive group of people last week who - even though some were struggling with is a bit - repeatedly expressed how valuable this could be in the countries they serve in. I heard testimonies of Bible college and Seminary leaders talking about the practical and powerful effectiveness of this method.
It is pretty easy to learn,
does not elevate the teacher nor restrict duplication due to NOT using Greek/Hebrew/outside sources,
in each group I was in or taught - there was immediate participation,
eagerness to engage, conviction and or personal applications and insights freely offered at a level that was almost disarming. I've taught a lot of small groups - but this was the easiest ever!
"There's a lot more I could say about who embraces and who struggles, etc. (mostly the more learned a person is, the more difficult time they have adapting) Leave it at this for now - I am convinced and will be using my free time to use this promote this wherever I get the chance. I truly believe that this will empower and release the largest army of workers for the Harvest that we have ever seen!"
"Here's part of what I wrote in my blog about it:
"Why does it work? Here are a few reasons:
1. None of us is as smart as all of us. The group dynamics always bring out an abundance of input and valuable information.
2. No one is elevated as the "authority" or the genius who can't be done without. The authority is in the Scripture Story itself, nothing else.
3. It is fun.
4. It works.
5. It is easy to understand.
6. It is easy to reproduce.
7. It keeps the main thing, the main thing - God's Word.
8. The Spirit more readily
- challenges and
- comforts as each person participates.
9. Once through the process, people want to do it again.
10. It levels the playing field and keeps us all at the foot of the cross.
"It's good friends - really good!
"Want me to come demonstrate?!! :-)
Other STS Workshop Attendees say......
"The missing puzzle piece," observed a leading mission's fund raiser. "From here I am going home to completely redo our curriculum," stated the founder of a Bible school in Myanmar.
"This is what we need for our International Students program. Just because they are going for their PhDs, does not make them favor literacy-based communication. They prefer stories and wonderfully we now know how to fully use stories."
"As a teacher I knew how to tell the stories, but now I know how to find the spiritual treasures (and almost know how to formulate questions to lead people to the treasures using discussion!")
Email From One Ministry Leader to Another
(This describing the leader's response to the STS workshop that he attended, and the email was forwarded to us.)
I am still meditating on the lessons and the information that I gained, so I cannot say that my thoughts are fully developed, but my immediate perceptions are these:
I think the overall benefit for us, as those who have been keepers and instructors of the Truth, is that strict application of the concept will require us to go back and hold more firmly to the Word of God and depend less on the commentaries, opinions, of man.
Where we are as a Christian nation today reminds me of where the Children of Israel were at when they went into Babylon and the Gemara, became more influential than the Torah.
Personally, I have become frustrated by the excessive level of extrapolation that has become so typical of much preaching today, so I am a ready recipient of STS. This extrapolation, preacherisms I call them, make it very difficult to disciple our young people because we have to focus so much instruction on the importance of knowing the word and on skepticism and discernment when listening to preachers and teachers.
Young people, and all believers today, are so vulnerable to the words and ideas of somebody with a book out or a TV program. I feel that it is a real minefield for new believers and probably has influenced the lukewarmness that pervades the average church.
STS can empower students with the Word and nothing but the Word, and it comes at a critical time. The challenge for [TGSP] in the U.S. is to figure out how to overcome the bad training we have already received. For the international arena I think it represents a great hope, especially for Muslims, Buddhists etc. because of the deep level of personal first-hand revelation that can be demonstrated out of such a small segment of Scripture. It should surely demonstrate a superiority of the Word of God over other scriptures.
As new believers would begin to grow in their knowledge of the Word and start to perceive the holistic depth of it from beginning to end, their faith and confidence in it, their foundation, should surely be unshakable and their devotion to Him enduring. Hopefully their salvation would not be the preacher or teacher but His Word.
As to the mechanics of the instruction I believe there is still a lot of learning and development to come \especially for U.S. I think it needs to become more extensive. To begin with unlearning us makes it all the more challenging. It is a lot of territory to cover in 1 and a 1/2 days. I think breaking it down to two segments where you first learn how to "share the story" and then later at another time you come back to learn how to teach it would be best.
How has the training impacted Daniel [young intense evangelist who ministry leader brought with him] and me? We have become carriers of a radical reformation proclaiming the Word and nothing but the Word. Challenging the story telling preaching and teaching that wanders from the written words.