If This Story is True, It is Good News
For many years, Servant Partners site leader Suzy has been developing a curriculum for illiterate Thai Christians to study the Bible through story-telling. Through the Bible Story Method, she has seen people experience the hope of Jesus--and now she has begun to train others.
The Bible Story Method is simple and accessible. A small group of people gather for a meal or a time of community. The storyteller begins to share a story from the Bible which has been carefully crafted using clear, everyday language. The storyteller repeats the story several times, incorporates teaching tools, such as drawing, and breaks the story down into easily memorized sections. By the end of the storytelling time, the story has been said aloud nearly ten times so that each person in the group can repeat the story with confidence.
"He is paying attention to me, and he is pursuing me just because he loves me!"
When the group begins to engage directly with God’s Word, the power of the Gospel becomes clear. With the group already familiar with the details of the story, the storyteller easily moves the group into deeper questions: What does this section teach about God? What does it teach about sin? How does this apply to our daily lives? Time after time, participants arrive at significant theological truths through story.
One afternoon, Suzy met with Noi, who was not a believer, to craft a story about the shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine sheep to search for the one that was lost. After two hours of discussion, Noi was enamored by the story. Noticing his excitement, Suzy asked Noi why he liked the story so much.
Noi responded very clearly, “Suzy, if this story is true, this is good news!” He did not know that Christians call the Gospel the Good News; those were simply the words he chose to describe this story he loved.
Noi began to explain to Suzy that when visiting a spirit house, he would need to burn incense to wake the spirits. If he did not wake them in the right way, they would become angry. Noi would then be able to make vows to his ancestors, but he would leave unsure whether he would get what he requested. If his requests were answered, he would be required to return to the spirit house to repay his debt.
Noi explained to Suzy, “What is so good about this story is that, if this is true, then God doesn’t need to be woken up. He is already awake! He is paying attention to me, and he is pursuing me just because he loves me!”
Suzy began developing this curriculum to study the Bible with illiterate Thai neighbors, but quickly found the Bible Story Method to be deeply enriching to her own spiritual journey. One day, as she was praying and confessing before the Lord, she found herself repeating a part from the story of David that she had memorized, reciting word-for-word his prayer of repentance. Suzy has a Master’s degree in Ministry Leadership, yet she encountered God in a fresh way through story. “It was a key moment in my own spiritual life when truth went from my head to my heart.”