Graduation PDF Print E-mail

 

 

 

 

Training Info:

Workshops

Oral Schools:

__Audio Interviews
__OBS Results
__Graduation
__
OBS Locations

Practitioner Audio

Certify Leaders

After A Workshop

Multiplication
Strategies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training Info:

Workshops

Oral Schools:

__Audio Interviews
__OBS Results
__Graduation
__
OBS Locations

Practitioner Audio

Certify Leaders

After A Workshop

Multiplication
Strategies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training Info:

Workshops

Oral Schools:

__Audio Interviews
__OBS Results
__Graduation
__
OBS Locations

Practitioner Audio

Certify Leaders

After A Workshop

Multiplication
Strategies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training Info:

Workshops

Oral Schools:

__Audio Interviews
__OBS Results
__Graduation
__
OBS Locations

Practitioner Audio

Certify Leaders

After A Workshop

Multiplication
Strategies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training Info:

Workshops

Oral Schools:

__Audio Interviews
__OBS Results
__Graduation
__
OBS Locations

Practitioner Audio

Certify Leaders

After A Workshop

Multiplication
Strategies



Graduation Celebration, First OBS in Africa:

 

What We Observed, Celebrated and Learned.

 

Kenya In April of 2011 our leaders from Nepal, India and Africa gathered with leaders from the USA and five African countries to celebrate the first graduation of an Oral Bible School (OBS) in Africa. As well, we observed the impact of the OBS and STS in Kenya. Vihiga_Kenya_Graduation

As Executive Director I have compiled our findings. In short, we saw STS in Kenya as a large ship moving successfully through the water, but lying lower and going slower than we hope one day to see. (Report compiled two weeks after the celebration.)

Encouraging Findings Regarding OBS & STS:

1.    We heard first-hand about the incredible commitments most students are making to be part of a school—physical, financial and social commitments.

2.    Schools have almost zero drop-out rate.

3.    The ten schools, each with 12 students have interesting profiles. Of these 120 students, 49 are acting pastors and most of the rest are involved in church leadership or teaching, 50 are literate and 70 are either illiterate or functionally illiterate. Interestingly, 34 are graduates of traditional Bible schools.

Over a ten-day period, I sat and conversed with the 80 students in attendance and church leaders who use STS, plus the Kenyan STS instructors. To a person, they spoke of a complete change in ministry effectiveness. The interest and spiritual responses of those to whom they minister have greatly increased. I was able to personally hear from about one-third of the people gathered there about how learning Scripture STS style is changing their own lives.  

4.    The perception stated by many was that the STS way to learn and the school design is “very African."

5.    The stated intention of the most of the students was to continue being trained in STS skills so that they can help train others in added OBSs in Kenya.

6.     Their willingness to refine their STS skills and to continue to learn more from the Bible was inspiring.

7.    Natural witnessing in the marketplace of life had measurably increased after these people learned the interactive STS style of telling Bible stories.

8.    With different groups I asked many of them this same general question. “If someone wanted to know more about grace or mercy, is it possible there is a story or something in a story that I could use to help them?” I used that same type of question and asked about the topics of judgment, family, children finances, idolatry, prayer, supernatural, etc. In every case, the responses were excellent. Someone would name a story, sometimes tell the story, and then I would ask more. “What in that story speaks to that topic?” In most cases they answered well.

9.   We originally asked local hosts to provide lodging for the students. Until this Kenya visit, 40 of the 120 students were live–in. They mostly stayed with relatives and friends at the school locations. To a person they now have opted to go back to their families, even where the distances they travel average 8 kilometers one way! (The furthest any student travels is 25 k, one way.) They say, “We go home now because we must share our stories with our families. Also sharing them quickly helps us remember the stories.”

10.  In one group made up of four newer schools and a school soon to begin, one man assisted us in a fun exercise. According to Bramuel, this very intelligent, godly and well educated man, Jacob, graduated from one of the best Bible schools in Africa. (That particular school offers three years of training while most in Africa are two-year schools.) Jacob had traveled with Bramuel in vision castings and experienced two days of a workshop.

I stated, “We have introduced Oral Bible Schools to Africa and we are excited about what we see them producing. But as you know, for many years, traditional Bible schools have also blessed people in Africa. I’d love to do a comparison of the two styles of schools, to see what OBSs lack that is gained in a traditional school, and also to see what OBSs might offer that is not part of a traditional school. Also I’d like to see if there are areas where the two types of schools might provide the same content.”

About fifteen Africans were with us for this discussion. Maybe half were graduates of traditional two-year Bible schools. A few Westerners joined in as well.

I asked Jacob. “Can you tell me one of the classes you took in Bible school?” He said, “Church History.”

I responded, “That we do not cover in an OBS. [I could have added, “except for the book of Acts,” but at the time, I did not think to mention that!]

Next Jacob offered, “Manuscripts.” Again, I said the OBSs do not cover that either.

But then, he said, “Bible Survey.”

“Ah ha!  What do you think, “I asked everyone. “Does what we cover in an OBS qualify as Bible Survey?” Everyone laughed.

The various people in the group made such statements as, “I think compared to what I got in Bible school, that OBS more than covers a class on Bible Survey. And I can remember what I learn too!”  

Another African stated, “Actually, what was covered in Bible Survey was more facts about each book, but spent more time going into the Word of God to see what it was saying and make application.”

One said, “The 210 stories we do in the OBS is more in depth all around.” (OBS students now learn 296 stories!)

“Next class?” I asked. “Homiletics,” Jacob offered.

“Ah. What do you think? Does STS teach how to preach and teach?” Again laughter broke out.  “Yes! And now when I preach,” and he smiled, ”the people don’t go to sleep.”

We covered Exegesis, Hermeneutics, Church Planting, Evangelism, Discipleship and some other classes I can’t recall.  For all these named classes, those gathered discussed the OBS and traditional Bible school trainings they had experienced.

Many said in various ways, “The reason I am committing to go to OBS, after I have already spent three years in school, is that I didn’t get what I needed in Bible school.  It was good, and I learned a lot, but after I got my diploma, and began my pastoral service, I found that not much of what I had learned was usable to reach the people.

One of the Africans announced, “I have pastored now for ten years, and I have had to find my own way. When I went to the STS workshop, I realized that it was what I had hoped to get in Bible school, but didn’t.”

They agreed, “And the low cost and the fact it is just a year long is why I love OBS. I only go to school half of my time and then I can minister and be with my family and practice my new stories the other half of the time. There is no comparison really in value.”

“Another thing,” announced one. “The OBS is Bible based. I am learning God’s Word and I am gaining skills to learn from God’s Word for myself and to teach others in a way they can understand. This is what I wanted all along.”

“Okay, let me ask this,” I said. “Some people who are investigating OBS have a strong legacy of attending traditional Bible schools. They are really wanting to know if the essential doctrines of the faith will be covered in an Oral Bible School. Those of you who have started your school term, what would say about that?”

One wise man asked, “If the doctrines people think are essential are from the Bible, then as we learn these many stories, over 200 of them, and understand them, and can speak about them to others, will we not know those doctrines?”

“Good question,” I agreed. They all discussed this question for awhile.

I suggested, “Let’s try this. Together let’s name some doctrines that might be considered essential to the Christian faith. Then let’s see if any of us who have done STS stories can name a story that teaches us something about that doctrine.” Various people named doctrines and then from within the group, those who had STS and OBS mileage, were able from memory to refer to specific stories on the list of 210 STS stories and passages that covered the doctrines mentioned. (OBS students now learn 295 stories!)

We sat together and talked from 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm with this one group. It was a joy to participate with them in this discussion.

During the week we spent in Kajiado, on a few evenings we sat around with some of the Kenyan instructors. We included Jacob who is a dynamic leader and who has committed to assist TGSP/STS in Kenya wherever needed. As we discussed various stories using the STS skills, he kept shaking his head and saying, “We never learned THIS in Bible school.”



What we learned in Kenya:


I saw holes in the hull of the OBS-STS boat that needed plugging, and barnacles that needed scraping off. These are the holes of errors in the STS process and the barnacles of retained old-ways of learning and teaching.

1.    The students do know the stories they have covered since they have been attending their OBS. But the stories in which they did not find visual pictures, I think they tried to memorize the stories and consequently the students had low retention rate.

2.    Students missed going deep in some of the stories, so in those stories we heard the typical “Christianese” answers.  

3.   When working with the Kenyan instructors, I was able to see that that many of them only had a fair grasp of the process. I felt sad, but not shocked. All who learn STS, especially those who have a legacy of being leaders and pastors, attest to the length of the STS journey. They need to learn how to set aside full-on preaching skills and to teach through prompting others to discover the precious truths in the Word of God.



Game plan to improve OBS and STS:


I had spent several days with the instructors in Nairobi before we traveled to Kajiado. At that time, the Lord showed me how to deepen the instructors’ STS skills and understanding. This was a critical need since each school is overseen by a specific instructor. Whatever strengths or weaknesses those overseers have will most likely be passed on to the students.

The week we spent in Kajiado provided a perfect opportunity to help the instructors and the students in the STS process.  We did a sample story the first day and the responses from those gathered were only fair; the discoveries were not that deep.

Then we taught for one day, concentrating on helping them perfectly learn the Wise Counsellor, and giving them the “Big Tribe” experience (in a recently modified way done in STS workshops). Afterwards, we arranged for all those present to do a story round as we do in workshops this allowed them to try out their increased skills of finding treasures.

As well, we unveiled a surprise. Each school received the just-completed Practitioner Audio Training (PAT) in Swahili on MegaVoice solar-powered audio players. The students spread out in groups to listen to the STS how-to-study information and learned the Abram-Sarai story from the Bible. The students listened to the series of questions which prompted discussion of the Abram-Sarai story.

By just using the recorded PAT, ten different groups, of twelve or so people, vigorously discussed the story and made personal applications from what they found in that Bible story. This continued until we had to interrupt the discussions to serve lunch!  Three hours has whizzed past!

The Sunday before the graduation I led a two-hour STS discussion on Naaman, 2 Kings 5:1-27. The difference in the responses to the earlier story we did together and this last one a week later was remarkable. The involvement of the 130-plus people assembled was from throughout the room and their responses were thoughtful and in depth. In fact, the people responded like popcorn.

At the end I asked, “From what you have found for yourself in this story, does any one thing stand out to you?” Oh my goodness. The sharing was diverse and meaningful, and kept going and going. After 15 minutes, the time was getting close for the graduation ceremony. So I asked our Africa director Bramuel if I should stop. He said, ‘Keep going.” So we listened to more spontaneous testimonies of what people had found through the story. After 15 more minutes, I finally cut off the discussion. Maybe 10 people still had hands raised as they had more yet to share!

Our STS country leaders determined by what we saw, that many of the holes in the ship had been plugged during our visit. The people had increased their skills to discover for themselves and were seeing more deeply into Scripture than when we arrived in Kenya.  

Bramuel and I have been working together for several years on creating STS leaders. By God’s grace, Bramuel does have over 30 workshop instructors now. These are good people, selfless, dedicated and very teachable believers. But I saw that Bramuel needed to improve as an STS trainer of trainers. However, in the end, his need reflected on me.

If I assume that our top-level leaders like Bramuel are holding those they teach to a high standard, but I have not checked those top leaders thoroughly and made sure they know “how to” create excellent teachers, I have failed. Bramuel and I needed this time together to locate areas in which his leaders could improve and determine how the improvement could be accomplished.

Ultimately, most of the weaknesses we saw in the students came from their OBS supervisors’ lack of skill and in some case the supervisors’ lack of total commitment to this new STS way to learn and teach. A few of the Kenyan instructors were self-satisfied. Because those instructors stood taller in skill than those around them, they had become complacent.

We also think a few instructors still struggle with not being the center of attention. Those still lecture and preach at times. However, we realized that the majority of the instructors just needed more coaching on their own skills and methods of training others.

I am now challenging our top country leaders who want to do schools to learn not just all of the workshop stories, but to explore all of the 210 stories the STS way. Seven of us lead instructors are currently committed to this (and I think that at least ten more country leaders will probably join when they hear the plan.) (OBS students now learn 296 stories!)

We seven decided that learning all of those stories and discussing them together, will be a blessed exercise for us, and in turn, knowing the stories well will help us all to more effectively mentor the OBS overseers and STS workshop instructors.

We have proven that “Know Why - Tell Why” is helpful for STS practitioners and essential for those who want to teach STS to others.  

At the end of each two weeks of OBS, the supervisors have been visiting and spending three days with the students. A more purposeful, structured plan for those three days is being designed. I realized that most of the African instructors had never served in this capacity, in fact, no one has!  OBSs are new. We needed to see the lacks and to help the instructors in this new role.

Our TGSP leadership team decided that after two months go by in an OBS school, we will send two instructors to lead a one week advanced training of the students. On the following week, the students, under the instructors’ watch, will lead a workshop in their local region.  We are praying that a high percentage of graduates will decide to travel to assist in workshops and then to go back and lead schools in their regions.

Leaders came who represent over fifteen countries, and they liked the model they saw. All agreed that concentrating on the training of leaders is vital ingredient to obtain quality in the OBSs.  

Ramesh left really charged and has two schools starting soon in Nepal.

Mark, our director in India, and Sam and Prakash (who set up STS workshops in three countries) gained clarity and went back to India intent on setting up schools. I believe that they have four commitments to start schools.

Ted, a mission leader from the USA, went to his leaders in Nepal and India and they want to find out more about how to begin OBSs.

Bryan is set to start one or more OBS in Ireland.  

John wants to open schools in Ethiopia.

Jeff and Emily are seeing God open doors to do STS workshops in Mali with a goal toward establishing OBSs.

Billy, and one of his Ugandan leaders who had visited an OBS in Kenya just before we arrived, is moving to start schools in Uganda. Other leaders with whom we work in Uganda also want to set up schools.  

Bramuel shared that leaders in Sudan have slated to start eleven schools in Sudan.

William of Togo wants to set up schools in many of the French speaking countries of Africa.

We are truly blessed and are thanking God for His guidance.


Dorothy

P.S. Exciting reports are already coming to us. Already three schools have been added to the ten! Students and instructors in Kenya are testifying as to how much their understanding of the STS process was deepened by the added training they received, and how much more they were committed to learning the 200 stories. “No matter how long it takes! We want to go through each story more slowly and not miss anything.”