George Mixon is leading a grown team of Kenyan nationals who train Kenyan leaders in Bible storying as a method for discipleship and evangelism.
George has been used a method called Chronological Bible Storytelling (CBS). Chronological Bible storytelling is one of the exciting tools being used throughout the world these days in planting churches among unreached people groups.
Chronological Bible story teaching began with New Tribes Missions as they worked among tribal groups in the Philippines. One valuable resources in this area is a book called Firm Foundations by Trevor McElwain of New Tribes.
On one hand, chronological Bible storytelling (CBS) is fairly new in the world of missions as an intentional method of evangelism and discipleship. On the other hand, CBS is as old as biblical history. Our sovereign God decreed that the historical events of the Bible occur in a certain order and that people remember them in stories that were not only written down, but passed down through generations by mouth. These stories, starting with the story of Creation and extending all the way through the stories of Jesus and the early church, have become for us a clear history of almighty God working out his plan to bring redemption to a sinful, broken world. As God was working out history so that we might be saved, he was also through His stories teaching us along the way about Himself, about man, and about how sinful man may be restored into relationship with a merciful God.
What is CBS?
- It is chronological . Instead of taking shortcuts to present the Gospel, CBS teaches Gospel truths in a slower, fuller way that is particularly valuable in long-term relational evangelism and discipleship. CBS involves teaching Bible stories in chronological order, beginning with Creation and continuing to stories of Jesus. Doing this lays a firm foundation of who God is, who man is, and how God wants to relate with men. In CBS, one might use 25 to 45 Bible stories that are essential to the redemption message, all presented in the same order in which we find them in Scripture.
- It is Bible. It is not simply using random stories to illustrate a message about God nor even using Bible stories for illustration only. CBS is telling Bible stories accurately and compellingly, using them to teach key principles of redemption, helping listeners to respond in repentance, faith, and obedience to the Savior revealed in the stories.
- It is storytelling. Africans are storytellers. Storytelling has been too long neglected in the church as a vital way of communicating God’s full-orbed message in Africa. Most essential life truth and wisdom that passes down through the generations in Africa is communicated in an oral method – through story and proverb in the context of community – rather than through books and note taking. Most people, literate or not, prefer to learn life lessons through story. Stories help isolated truths make sense because they give context. Stories are compelling for people to listen to. Lastly, stories are easier for people to pass on to friends and family than are three point sermons! This enables believers to much more easily share the message with others. It is valuable to read stories from the Bible and teach about them verse by verse. But often even more effective is to learn the story by heart in order to tell it in its entirety with feeling and persuasion. Then truths found therein can be communicated and discussed through simple questions and dialogue that help the people reflect on the story themselves under the leader’s guidance and to see how their own story intersects with God’s story.