By Paul Trinh
For years, I had been struggling in witnessing. Although I could tell people the Bible many concerns pulled me back from witnessing. These concerns included (1) people might not be interested in my witness, (2) repeating the same gospel presentation to the same person, and (3) the available witnessing time was so short.
Seventeen years ago, I learned about the Chronological Bible Storying during my missionary career orientation. Nevertheless, its requirement to complete a worldview study of the non-believers before telling Bible stories hindered me from storytelling. Then throughout my first term, my mission agency kept promoting and training missionaries, including my wife and me, to storying the Bible.
In my second term missionary career, my wife and I began planting new churches among the Cantonese in the Dominican Republic. One day, I told an individual Bible story to an unbeliever. To my surprise, he listened attentively. Thus, I initiated my journey in Bible storytelling.
In the mission field, I told Bible stories at various settings. First, I told Bible stories in shop-to-shop visitation. During business hours, I spoke Bible stories to workers as they were working. They listened. While we returned to the same shops, we were often asked, ‚ÄúWhat story are you going to tell me today?‚ÄĚ It opened the door for us to keep telling different Bible stories. In a few occasions, shop owners were even listening to Bible story instead of responding to their customers.
Second, I engaged Bible stories at break time of the language classes for newly immigrants. Since the new Cantonese immigrants encountered difficulty in learning Spanish, our new Chinese church started Spanish classes for them. At the break time, my wife taught them gospel songs, and I told them a series of stories of Abraham. Sometimes they were listening, but they made small talks at other times. At the end of the semester, I reviewed the life of Abraham by asking these new immigrants questions. Amazingly, they could answer every question.
Third, my wife and I employed Bible stories at the new church in Dominican Republic. I told Bible stories as my ‚Äúsermons‚ÄĚ and people paid attention. Once I trained two new leaders to tell Bible stories. One of them spoke eloquently and had no problem to retell the stories. Another leader spoke stutteringly and hesitated at the beginning. He could tell stories as well after our resilient encouragement and his repeated effort. After we left the field, they kept leading the church.
Therefore, my reluctance in witnessing disappeared. Now I am not concerned about the interest of people, for I am sure that every person loves story. I am not concerned about repeating the same gospel presentation to the same person. I know that more than five hundred Bible stories could be told. I am also not concerned about not having enough time to witness, because telling a Bible story usually only takes two minutes. Consequently, I am eager to employ Bible storying as my witnessing strategy‚ÄĒto lead people to follow Jesus Christ.
Returning to the United States, my wife and I began teaching believers to tell Bible stories. I met many believers sitting on the pews for years but not being able to tell a Bible story. Also many misconceive that story is for children only. Thus, we are making effort to overcome these hindrances. As a result, some believers have become excited about telling Bible stories. They are actually telling people the Bible.
Today, I tell Bible stories to both non-believers and believers. Following the examples of storytellers in the Bible, I recount Bible stories wherever I go. At the same time, I train my church members and other believers, in the States and overseas, to tell Bible stories. I know that I am actually telling people the Bible.