Pictures from OBS Workshops
At New India Bible Seminary (NIBS) a one-year program to equip/train Oral Bible Story Tellers and Facilitators for Orality Workshops for Bibleless Language groups in India has commenced since July 2011. The vision is to provide to theological graduates who have a calling for work in Scripture Translation, an opportunity to develop further. The class size of ten candidates enrolled has already completed some foundational courses as envisioned by TSC and run by experts in the field. The current design of the program consists of 4-5 workshops (of about 2 weeks each) in a year by TSC’s orality consultants and in between field exposure for reflective learning and skill development in orality. The two types of projects are:
1) Orality Projects in the majority of languages where scripture is already available. Students’ learning focus will be more on learning and using storytelling skills.
2) Projects in the same areas of the languages of wider communication where additional Bibleless languages exist.
This way the prospective Orality Consultants will be well equipped to serve the broader need to commission Storying projects in yet Bibleless languages within the region.
Our purpose is to equip the students to be OBS facilitators to lead OBS workshops that will be the vehicle for Oral translation projects in Bible less language groups in India, positioning the students to be part of the Last Command Initiative (LCI) execution plan to reach the remaining 110+ languages without scriptures in India. Also, the goal is that many of these students will become trainers of others to be OBS Workshop (WS) facilitators.
The more we discover the contextual challenges of our students in mission, the more obliged we are to offer responsive training, as the very thrust of the CBTL Model (Context-Based Transformative Learning Model) of the Seminary envisions it. This mission ethos of the seminary endorses that we incorporate relevant strategies to be responsive to the need of the hour. The thriving questions have been, ‘Are we catering well to the needs of students who represent the unreached thousands, especially the Bibleless language communities?’ ‘Can we be a centre for training people from Bibleless languages who eventually will grow as Bible translators in their communities?’
Sessions during the workshops focuses on selection of stories to fit specific contexts/audience, Structuring and narration of the story, Internalization, Testing of Stories and use of expert consultation and Program Planning. The practice of Oral Bible Story Telling enhances at its core, careful Bible Study, skills development in mission, and above all, identification with what we could term as “the Jesus’ Method”. Students with a reasonable good foundational knowledge of the Word said, “Telling a Bible Story is not as easy as we hear it for the first time. It in fact requires careful analysis of the entire passage. We love this method as it gives wide-ranging possibilities for bridge-building to the unreached people groups and interestingly, without any barriers of age or educational status or religious backgrounds.” “It is only our assumption that we know how to narrate Bible passages well. It takes lots of preparation and practice to do so. Above all, it is very important that we do not add to it or change it and particularly so when we use this as a tool among the Bibleless language groups.” “To anyone, young and old, sick or happy, story makes sense. The story is something that people cannot resist and … they never forget it. Sharing God’s word this way will be wonderful.” Every single person who participated has been impacted and challenged to use the skill appropriately in their contexts of ministry.
We are thankful to God for His choice in making NIBS a place to equip young men and women from all over India and beyond in His Word for His service. The Groups Activities of multiple language communities at the Seminary immensely blessed the campus. We hope that as we continue to pray for the Scriptureless languages in the continent, God will bring more representatives of unreached language communities to NIBS in the future to receive their training. Alongside all the rigorous academic procedures at NIBS, we pray that God will help us with the vision and resources to start a Bible Storytelling Club on campus, where students can come together for interactive learning, practice Storytelling among friends for better confidence and testing and the difficult questions from their contexts can be explored. We also seek possibilities for potential students at NIBS from Bibleless languages to network with translation projects. It is our prayer that the students will use Bible Story Telling in the week-end practical ministry and during summer ministry placements and appreciate the difference it makes in mission. Jesus says in Matt. 24: 14 “This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” To this end we labor, praying “Jesus, come soon...”