by John Walsh
There are limits on how often I can say this to my wife. She doesn’t like to travel, but we have a standing agreement. She will go with me on any trip as long as I tell her it is important to me. So as soon as the words left my mouth, she stopped, turned, and looked at me. It was now time for me to quickly give my reasons. “Somehow I think what I learn on this trip will greatly influence the rest of our lives. I want you there to hear it firsthand.” We packed the car and headed for Fort Worth, Texas.
It was January 2003, the month that Moody Publishers first released my book, The Art of Storytelling. But I wasn’t going to Texas to conduct a training in storytelling. I was going to receive training in storytelling. J.O. Terry and Grant Lovejoy were conducting a seminar on Chronological Bible Storying. They were teaching a concept that was totally new to me. I had taught thousands of people how to embellish Bible stories so they could put their lessons inside the telling of a story. I had also trained people on how to increase their personal storytelling skills. But this was different. We were being taught how to craft and tell Bible stories that were completely accurate to Scripture, with nothing added to “spice it up.” Our instructors were saying that a person doesn’t have to be good at telling stories to be successful at this. This was the first time I heard that 75% of the Bible was written in a story format. They said God had it written this way to make it easier for people to learn, remember, and share with others. When I asked about the other 25%, I was surprised to learn that 15% of the Bible is in some form of poetry, and only 10% is in analytical reasoning. We soon found that almost everyone else in attendance at this training was a missionary to a foreign country. They were there to learn this new approach used by missionaries around the world. They called it “chronological storying.”
That week of training changed our direction in life. I went home and started to experiment with storying. Soon I became friends with Dr. Mark Getz, a rheumatologist. He had been interested in chronological storying for several years. He said, “Would you like a class of adults to experiment with?” This started a 15-week venture. I traveled to his church in Morton, IL each Sunday and taught 35 adults a story a week. After 10 weeks, I asked the class, “Why do you come back week after week?” One man said, “John, you are teaching us stories that our pastor assumes we already know.” After the 15 weeks, I continued crafting the stories, and Mark taught the class until they had gone through 72 stories.
I soon found that churches in the US thought, “Bible stories are for children! Adults need solid teaching.” Still, I kept busy because opportunities became available in other countries. Missionaries and national Christian leaders were eager to learn more about BibleTelling and how it would help them reach and teach the people in their countries. Unlike the churches in the United States, they were excited about this new tool. Still, my vision was for the USA, where “storying” was not yet being accepted. God used this time to teach me more about storying and how it can be used in ministry. J.O. Terry reassured me that eventually American churches would want this tremendous tool.
Now, a few years later, I see churches changing. Pastors have been hearing about what is happening on the mission fields of the world. They suddenly realize how little of the Word of God their people really know. Church leaders are also learning that people, in general, love Bible stories if told plain and simple.
So, welcome to BibleTelling! In this website you will find all the stories that cover the main events of the Bible. Enjoy!