Rapid Distribution of Truth

In our past few newsletters, we’ve outlined who Spoken reaches, how they best receive information, and the importance of contextualizing the message needing to be shared. If you missed these newsletters, you can read them at spoken.org under Resources. In this newsletter, we will explore the impact of our model of discipleship and how it allows for rapid distribution of the information that is recorded.

Who

 Oral learners (All three types)

Who

 Contextualized Truth (Spiritual & Physical) in story, song, and drama (oral) format

Who

 Through Local Leaders shepherding small discussion groups, often aided by the use of available technology

Trusted in the community.

 Know the local context and needs.

Christian believer with the desire to share Biblical Truth.

Why Local Leaders?

 At Spoken, although we understand the impact natural forms of communication make on the reception of the message, we equally recognize the importance of properly equipping local leaders to shepherd this process. Ideally, dedicated training, accompanied by prayer and God’s provision, will create opportunities for previously unreached people to come to faith and be discipled. 

Our 3-year Pastor Development Program for local leaders involves a process of modeling and training to select and develop contextually appropriate biblical content, storytelling, effective ways to start and facilitate small discussion groups that will encourage spiritual growth, and raising up emerging disciples to multiply efforts.

Small Discussion Groups

A piece of feedback often shared from our ministry partners is that preaching doesn’t always work well – especially among people in rural communities. Their style of learning involves less direct teaching of information or proclamation, and more discovery of truth through open discussion.

There are studies testing a person’s memory, and on average, people remember only 10% of what they hear, but up to 90% of what they say.* Therefore, if we want to increase the amount of learning that occurs in a ministry environment – we need to increase the time others talk about the Bible. This is what happens in a small discussion group environment – rather than a lecture environment. 

Value of Quality Discussion**:

  • Ensures that People Remember the Content
  • Gives Insight into the current Spiritual Condition of Participants
  • Lets Listeners see the Relevance of Scripture to Their Lives
  • Stimulates Curiosity and Spiritual Hunger
  • Increases the Desire to Delve into the Bible Further
  • Grows Relationships
  • Creates a Sense of Gathering 

Facilitators (Local Leaders) Act As:

  • Motivator – stimulate thinking
  • Enabler – keep the discussion on track
  • Clarifier – Explains what is being said
  • Affirmer – Encourages the group members
  • Redirector – Draws others into discussion 

* Glaser, R. (1983, June). Education and Thinking: The Role of Knowledge. Technical Report No. PDS-6. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, Learning and Development Center.

** Telling The Gospel Through Story, Christine Dillon 

Asking good questions during the story and discussion time is key. Questions invite more development and clarification of an answer given by a participant and draw others into the discussion.

DISCIPLE-MAKING MOVEMENTS:

As part of our 3-year training program, local leaders multiply their efforts by reproducing themselves. After identifying candidates that are Christ followers, in good standing in their community, willing to lead rather than preach and able to report back on their discussions, they are trained to: 

  • Lead storytelling, facilitate listening groups, and train others 
  • Raise up leaders to take over the group so that they can start others 
  • Form new groups through leveraging existing group relationships 

This multiplication model ensures that the work, and Truth, continue to reach those in need far beyond what Spoken could do on its own.  

The Role of Technology

Technology is not WHAT we do, but it is a part of HOW we do what we do. It is an effective tool in helping deliver Truth to oral learners. With a limited number of leaders in any given area, and large numbers of people needing to hear Truth, technology helps speed up the discipleship process while delivering accurate content that is shareable.

Once the appropriate people-specific messages needed for the community are developed, they are then reviewed for Biblical accuracy, recorded on an audio recorder, and downloaded to the appropriate tech for use.

Depending on the community, and their available resources, Spoken currently utilizes two different types of technology. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the geography and demographics, but both are extremely useful and effective in the hands of local leaders sharing Truth with oral learners. 

MicroSD Cards

Pros

7+ billion cell phones in use worldwide

Cost Effective (10 cards = 1 MegaVoice)

Cons

Reliant on available cell phone + charger and electricity

MegaVoice Audio Players

Pros

Solar-powered

Community can be “off the grid”

Cons

Requires a specialized device that may be new to a culture 

Both

Allow groups of 5-15 people to listen together, ensure consistent content that remains true to the word of God, are shareable with surrounding people groups, and allow villagers to hear stories repeatedly – enabling them to internalize and share the message

We are thankful for the opportunity to utilize both forms of technology as community needs and resources rapidly change. Spoken continues to search for innovative ways to cross barriers and eliminate the category of “unreached people groups”. 

Program Update: Teach To Transform Partnership

The hill country of Kenya was recently the site for a new kind of training event that merged health information and skills training with story creation. Teams from four different language  groups participated and after the training, we received this feedback from a local leader:

“This is the kind of wisdom that Proverbs talks about, the kind that will multiply our days and add years to our life.” 

One group began introducing their stories with this wisdom to highlight the great value they saw in what they were learning and how important it would be for their community. 

Spoken Worldwide collaborated with Teach To Transform (TTT) to hold this unique event. TTT health professionals travel the world training local pastors and leaders in basic medical skills to expand their ministry in the community. The compassionate health care they give is a gateway for sharing the Gospel, and is in line with our holistic approach at Spoken. The staff from Spoken provided the expertise and training on taking information and creating easy-to-understand stories that could then be recorded. 

Kenyan medical students were a key part of the TTT staff, leading presentations on a number of topics like Health and Hygiene, Wound Care, and Vital Signs. Table groups reviewed the information with the staff, and then worked to create and record stories, songs and dramas that captured all important pieces.

The recordings that were created during this time will increase the impact of the training far beyond those who participated at the actual event and are a more efficient and effective way to reach oral learners with important information. The potential listening audience of these four language groups is over 2.3 million people. 

We are happy to report that this trip was the outcome of a successful partnership with Teach To Transform. At Spoken, we know we can accomplish far more by working hand in hand with other organizations, churches, and locals and are thrilled when partnerships bear fruit in the form of new recordings and transformed lives! 

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