After A Workshop
After A Workshop
After A Workshop
After A Workshop
After A Workshop
After A Workshop
After A Workshop
Practitioner Audio Training (PAT)
The Need for PAT
For two years we sought the Lord on how to respond to a ministry that reaches 150,000 children weekly in seven African countries.
This organization sent leaders and children to an Africa STS workshop.
The founders of that organization liked the content and principles of STS and would like to use STS.
They stated, “We would like to send our local leaders to workshops to learn STS, but a practical obstacle exists. We have 3,000 leaders to train who are scattered in seven countries and most do not have the means to travel.”
We knew what this ministry needed would have to be a low cost, but effective audio training. For several years we prayed over what style this material would take.
"We have 8,000 small groups"
Another organization that reaches 300,000 homes daily sent their CEO and some leaders to several STS workshops to investigate STS training. After we were guests at their headquarters for a day, a similar dilemma was expressed. "We have 8,000 small groups of new believers in Nepal alone. On a practical level, how can we train the leaders of each of these small house churches to disciple others, as they are new themselves to the Bible?"
Large Ministries and Organizations
Additionally, other large ministries and organizations in the US and abroad have asked for STS training, but, as well, for them to send their members or even their leaders to workshops is not logistically or financially practical.
The quantity of people certified as STS instructors is rapidly rising. But we are finding that even when ministries are able to send attendees to workshops, we do not have enough instructors to staff the workshops!
Our African leadership says, “We are currently able to respond and send teams to about 10% of the requests for Africa, even with our multiple teams in the field.
In India, the need is much the same. From the US we are responding to maybe 50% of the overall requests.
Worldwide in 2010, probably 400 first-tier workshops were held. "First tier" workshops are those led by our inner core of instructors who we have directly trained. These instructors mostly go to new locations and countries to plant STS.
Unmet Needs Prompted the Development
All of these aforementioned unmet needs prompted the development of the Practitioner Audio Training (PAT.)
We, and our STS leaders worldwide, see PAT as
- A way to reach those who cannot go to workshops.
- A help in Oral Bible Schools by providing recorded stories and training.
- A tool to use in workshops when teaching non-literates.
- A tool for small group Bible studies.
What is Pat?
The PAT is a hybrid of teaching how to explore stories using STS tools of discovery and of simulating what workshop attendees experience in story “preparation.” Those workshop times of gathering in small groups to explore Bible stories offer a never-to-be-forgotten experience of personal discovery.
(Our Simply The Story Handbook, available at no cost online, provides the in-depth information of STS Preparation and STS Presentation. As well, a quick overview of STS Presentation is on this site.)
The results from people who have participated in discussing some of the PAT style Bible stories are most encouraging. Experience and repetition is working. As people go through even a few of the 52 stories completed, and find treasures by following the multiple, small, “bread-crumb” style questions of PAT, many are gaining the skills of using questions to investigate new Bible stories and passages.
How to Test PAT
As a sample of the Practitioner Audio Training, we offer at no cost on this site the essential introduction and instructions on how to use PAT and the Abram & Sarai story. PAT is designed as an interactive group experience, and is uniquely different from any other Bible teaching material available. If you decide to test the PAT, be sure to try it the way it is designed to work!
It’s sad to say, but some busy executives who decide to check out PAT first by listening to it alone. They only listen to the sets of questions without pausing and having the group experience of discussing the questions everyone remembers. Checking PAT the way it is not designed to work causes them to miss the innovative PAT method and its value.
To test PAT, a few or more people come together. They learn the story, listen to a set of questions, then they pause the player after each SET of questions. Then members of the group discuss just the section covered and whatever questions they can recall. Stopping after each question or going back and re-listening to questions again compromises the effectiveness of the new method.
For example, one story in the workshop that is available in the Practitioner Audio Training format is Abram & Sari. First the introduction for this story is heard and then the 10-verse story is learned by listening and repeating. Then, questions probing for spiritual observations within each part of the story are heard. After that, spiritual application questions are played a set at a time.
These sets of questions are meant to prompt discussion. The study group sets its own pace. The decision of when to start again after the questions are discussed is made by the group when they decide they are ready.
In the five countries in which that particular story was tested, the shortest length of time the discussions took was two hours, and the longest was six hours!
(It might help to know that this Abram & Sarai sample story is from the list of 52 stories and it follows the Cain & Abel story. The story’s longer than average introduction is given because other stories in the list of 52 will need this information and refer back to it.)
The Purpose and Content of PAT
PAT’s purpose is to teach people how to do STS. Once storytellers experience this style of preparation, they are more prepared to formulate and use their own questions for ministering to others. When a story is presented this STS way, to believers or to non-believers, no matter what their religion, the questions from the storyteller and discussion of the group will be uniquely theirs.
Our projection for PAT is eventually to cover 52 stories in this new style. The 52 stories selected are the ones used in STS workshops. The stories are being prepared in sets of three stories at a time.
PAT On a Solar Audio Player
When all PAT stories are recorded, the program order on a solar audio player with PAT is scheduled to be:
- Introductions and Contents Explained (God's Story to be added in the future).
- The Path.
- Power of Story & Nathan Principle.
- Wise Counsellor.
- How to Learn a Story.
- Instructions for PAT.
- Beloved Elder.
- Sample Story of Abram & Sarai.
- Introduction to Abram & Sarai Story.
- The Abram & Sarai Story.
- Observation Questions.
- Application Questions.
- Paralyzed Man Lowered a-d.
- Cain & Abel a-d.
- Mary & Martha STS Presentation (done live in a workshop).
Testimonies of Use of PAT
Many of the STS leaders, upon first hearing the style of the questions, had misgivings. In Dallas, the 15 instructors and attendees who tested it said right at the beginning, "Too many questions" or "Play one question at a time."
We responded by asking them to “just try the whole set of questions, one set at time, and then give your feedback afterwards.”
You should have seen the interaction! They discussed a myriad of points, argued and discovered. The exploration lasted two hours, the timing all controlled by their decisions as to when to turn the player back on and listen to more questions.
Afterwards, to a person, all commented on how much they liked the discussion in which they just participated. They noticed saw that occasionally questions were repeated and they sons for the repeated questions and the style of the questions.
During development, PAT was tried by test groups (some brand new to STS and some who were familiar with the concepts). A wide range of people have tested it including seminary professors, denominational pastors, missionaries, youth (ages 11 and up) and in various settings such as home churches and Bible studies. Both literates and non-literates in Nepal, India, USA, Africa and Ireland tested PAT. The testers reported great value.
One pastor who had been to a workshop called and said, "I figured out what you were doing with the questions. It is different, but I see how it will work for people who cannot get to a workshop."
A young man in ministry, maybe 22 years old, and an 18-year old came by our headquarters’ office. We gave them the CD with the how-to information and the Abram & Sarai story. They listened to it on a long car ride. Neither of them knew STS. The older one called a few days later and said, "We liked it."
Then he went into great detail about what they learned. He said, "I want to listen to all of it again to learn how to do this kind of study. It is similar to a way we learned to study in Bible school, but it is simple and it works. I want to make a copy for a pastor friend who teaches a home Bible class."
Children have told us, “We have been playing it at home since we heard it in home church, so we can think more about the Abram & Sarai story.”
How to Use PAT
Again keep in mind that because an experienced STS practitioner is not present, the questions on PAT are purposely given in small increments of several questions at a time. The style of asking question in sets best replicates what happens when a experienced STS storyteller helps people gain to gain the skill of discovering through questions.
As listeners talk together, they select the questions that interest them. This style, of allowing listeners to select the questions to discuss, creates a conversational atmosphere rather than a classroom feeling.
So DO NOT let anyone fret over not being able to remember all of the questions or feel the need to go back and re-listen to the set of questions. Not remembering all of the questions is expected and is okay. More questions are given than may be remembered or discussed. Just talk about what you remember and want to discuss and keep going.
Sometimes a question is asked such as, "Did you discuss what God has promised to Abram?' The listeners might confidently say, "Yes we already covered that," and they move on. That is a win!
But, if from the prompting, they do decide to discuss something they may have missed, that too is a win. Most often the question of “Did you discuss?” prompts the listeners to notice that they missed something valuable in the story, so then they decide to pick up and discuss that topic. PAT’s design of asking a series of bread-crumb questions encourages those studying the story to keep looking closer at the story.
We are finding that this PAT experience of learning a story, and then learning about that story via oral style questions, does enable people to start sharing stories and using questions they have developed.
In this sample, in the introduction to the story, we give some "advance information" about Abram, information that is detailed later in subsequent or following stories. We do this because to Muslims, Christians of all degrees, and Jews, "Abraham" is a known character. Our desire in the introduction is to link Abram to Abraham since some do not know those are two names for the same man.
As well, most of these who know Abraham also perceive him as a perfect person, the Father of Faith or as a great prophet. In Scripture Abraham is highly honored. But those who lionize or try to make Abraham a perfect person, struggle with seeing that this Abram was a man like anyone and had to grow into being a man of faith. So the stage is set in the introduction on the identity of this man as he is known later. This giving of information "before" a story is done by the Lord in Scripture.
PAT is Useful For:
- Those who cannot attend a workshop.
a. To give them some stories and the basic idea of using questions to teach the stories in a discussion style.
b. Impart the skill of finding treasures in new stories and learning how to form questions.
- Those who have been to a workshop to refresh their memories and deepen their practitioner skills.
- Assistant and Provisional Instructors to deepen their training skills.
- Those who are seeking to understand more about the Bible.
To learn from these PAT stories
Although it is rare in a ministry situation, to have two to three hours to present a story, the purpose of PAT is to develop stories deeply in the preparation phase. This in-depth preparation allows participants to experience the wealth of information that can be found in a Bible passage—and found through questions.
To learn from these PAT stories, if only a half hour to an hour is available for this preparation, just go as far into the story and the questions as the time allows.
Then, next time together, all should participate in a review by telling the story and then stating what has been discovered through discussion up to the point they had to stop the last time. Then the group continues by listening to new sets of questions and discussing together.
We pray that many storytellers will be developed by participating in PAT. Storytellers can become comfortable with using questions for discovery and also with using the information they glean during that time of discovery.
Then, as God leads, storytellers can use whatever presentation is time available to them, and present through their own questions the content they select. Storytellers must always and only teach what they personally see and what God leads them to present.
Beyond Expectations, Modern Day Leaping
The most amazing discovery yet in our STS journey began like this. A team of experienced STS instructors gathered in a storefront church with some of the newer instructors in-training. We planned to spend the day fine tuning teaching skills and bonding as a team to prepare for leading a five-day STS workshop.
That month we had completed recording three Bible stories with a lot of in-depth questions. This Practitioner Audio Training (PAT) in its trials had proven to help people gain the feeling of learning through asking questions. So we decided to gather our newer instructors and have them participate in a self-regulated discussion guided by the series of recorded questions. Four STS instructors and one man from Kenya, Jacob, who arrived a day early by mistake, prepared to start the study.
Now, here is where it got interesting …
The front door of the meeting room was being monitored by a man who looked as if life had run him over—several times! He appeared to be in his late 70s, but his worn face, plain clothes and lack of teeth could have made him look older than his years. As I came back from the parking lot to re-enter the church, I felt led to stop and speak to this man.
“Hi. My name is Dorothy.”
“I’m Junior,” he responded.
“So do you go to this church?” I asked.
“Yep. I watch over things here and keep the place clean.”
“Say, Junior, I wonder if you could help me with something?”
He responded, “What?”
“Well, here’s the deal,” I confided. “I am testing a new recorded teaching. It’s a Bible story and some questions and I really need some people to listen to it and then give me their opinion.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Do I hafta read?”
“Oh no,” I assured him. “It’s all recorded and then you talk about it.”
“Well, okay. Let me finish my cigarette first, then I’ll come in.”
In my side vision, I had seen a few people standing nearby on the sidewalk. Turning to them, I asked, “You part of this church?”
The man in the group responded, “We’re here to clean the church.”
“Oh,” I said. “We’re gonna be here awhile for our training, so you can’t clean now. If you can come in and help me with this test, then, when we’re done, we can help you clean.”
The man conferred with the other adult there, a lady who, I was soon to discover, was his wife. As they talked, I glanced over at the other three people, two teen girls and one teen young man with some piercings and cell phone in hand. The man turned back to me and said, “Okay, we can do that.”
So Junior, and what I was to learn was a family of five, joined the four instructors and the Kenyan and the test began. All gathered repeated the recorded story about four times and then listened to a few questions, put the player on pause and started discussing the content. This they continued—listening, pausing the recording, discussing and then playing again to listen to more of the discussion-prompting questions.
Occasionally our group of advanced instructors would stop the planning we were doing and look across the room to watch and listen to the discussion. Lively exchanges were taking place, with everyone involved, except Junior. I never saw him saying anything, but he did stay engaged in listening to what everyone else was saying.
The discussion stayed active with even the teens adding some thoughts. In wise STS style, the instructors did not respond immediately, but gave others opportunity to first voice their observations about a particular part of the story.
Time was approaching for the dinner to arrive, so I stood up to walk over to the group to ask for their feedback. The father was finishing an application saying, “It was hard for Abram to be in a famine with his family depending on him, but he should have consulted God and taken better care of his wife and not been so worried about himself.” Then the father said, “I know what that’s like, but Abram never gave God a chance to provide. We gotta trust and take care of our families. We’re cleaning the church so we can have a place to stay and get some food. I lost my job and yesterday we lost our home, so we are homeless.”
Surely it was amazing to hear him reveal his situation and to hear his application of the story to himself. This little family had just lost their home and income, yet still they clearly and peacefully discussed why you needed to trust God in the hard times. Trust was not theory to them!
I walked on over to the group. “Sorry to interrupt, but dinner will be arriving soon. How far into the recorded questions did you get?” One instructor told me that they had completed the spiritual observations and were half way through the story discussing the questions that led them to discover spiritual applications.
This diverse group proceeded to tell me what they learned and how they felt about this style of studying the Bible. Jacob, the African, told how he heard different views on this story of Abram and Sarai that he never had seen before. One of the Americans countered with, “Oh Jacob. You saw some amazing insights in the story that were new to us, things that in our culture we never think about!”
Interestingly, one of the teen daughters shared a specific lesson she gained from how Sarai just went along with Abram’s lie. The teen son announced, “I could do this with some of my friends from school.”
To a person the feedback was very positive, which, of course, encouraged all of us who had been observing. “So how long do you think you were discussing this story?”
“Oh maybe an hour,” they agreed.
“Actually, you were talking about it for two hours and 40 minutes!”
The pastor of this church reaches out to local neighbors and in return, many of the drug-controlled homeless in the area are drawn by the love offered to them by this church. The pastor drove Junior to the motel where he currently lived.
Now here is what impacted us so strongly. The next morning, after the pastor dropped off Junior, he took me aside to give a startling report. “Last night on the way home, Junior told me, ‘Pastor. I’m gonna learn the Bible. I’m gonna learn it and tell it to others.’ Then Junior told me a Bible story about Abram and Sari and he was spot on accurate. Our Junior is illiterate. He has been saved ten years. He had been thirty years a heroin addict, twenty years in prison, is known by local police as having mental problems and now has dialysis three times a week.”
Our team had felt led to invite the family and Junior to the workshop and to sponsor their meals for that time. They all came! So ministry leaders, missionaries, some internationals, some highly educated people who wanted to learn oral strategies, local people and these late comers combined to learn Simply The Story together. They learned together, studied stories together, practiced and enjoyed discovery together. All participated, including Junior.
Junior was in the small study group that dug into their story of Peter and John nearing the Temple gate when they were asked for donations by a lame man. As the discussion was underway, “Junior flatly stated, “I used to beg.” How real the discussion became as all in his group relived what it must have been like when Peter reached down and took hold of the lame man’s right hand. That happened just after Peter had announced, “I do not have any silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth stand up and walk.” The lame man stood and then walked and leaped and praised God.
During the week of the workshop the pastor said he saw Junior sharing Bible stories with people outside the Laundromat. Junior was standing and praising God.
Beyond Expectations: Five months later the unexpected report came to us. Junior’s pastor told me on the phone, “I just had lunch with L.R. He lives across the tracks in the ravine under a shelter he made. Sunday, a week ago, L.R. showed up at church … drunk. We ministered to him and told him, ‘Come back tomorrow sober, and we will give you lunch.’ He came every day last week.
“So today at lunch I asked, ‘How did you happen to come here to the church?’
L.R. explained, ‘Junior had been coming to see me. He doesn’t bring a Bible and read it to me. He tells stories. I liked what I heard, so I wanted to know more.’”
The pastor shared, “We are realizing that Junior has been going out to the homeless all around here and telling them stories!” [Junior may not have been leaping, but I sure was!]
It appears that the Lord had not used a literacy test to determine whether Junior was qualified to serve in the Christian army!
P.S. The pastor told us that the father of the homeless family now had a good job and the family had a place to live!
Dorothy Miller –TGSP/STS
More information on PAT and Example PAT Stories