Beyond Literate Western Practices:

Continuing Conversations in Orality and

Theological Education

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“Beyond Literate Western Practices is an excellent set of case studies and essays on the power of orality to break through the challenges of existing educational models and provide new paradigms for the growing number around the world seeking to learn and grow. It addresses both the opportunities ready to be leveraged and the challenges that still must be overcome. There is a fresh and encouraging message that education can change and further engage the millions of oral learners in the Majority World who seek to grow in their faith, skills, and ministry effectiveness."

- Jon Hirst, President and CEO,

Global Mapping International

"Increasingly missions practitioners and educators are recognizing that, in a world where 5.7 billion are oral preference learners, many of the current training strategies cannot, and will not, serve adequately a large proportion of the church. From several continents this volume has collected a variety of case studies illustrating creative new approaches for training oral preference learners. Each context is different, but the principles provide guidance for those willing to explore new pathways and strategies for orality.
For 40 years The Lausanne Movement has been calling the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. Oral learners and leaders are 80% of that “whole.” This volume both echoes and answers that call."

- Dr. David W. Bennett, Chief Collaboration Officer & Teaching Pastor

The Lausanne Movement

“Making disciples is a key calling for Christians. Jesus said this was a priority for his followers. But what if new believers can't read the Bible? What if even pastors can't read? For tens of thousands around the globe, that is the case. How can they grow to maturity in their faith and understanding? This book presents principles of oral learning, curriculum development, and evaluation assessments for Christians who don't read. They can indeed develop into leaders who grasp the Big Story and the whole counsel of God in its fullness. Through the cases in this book, we see how.”

- Dr. Miriam Adeney, Associate Professor of World Christian Studies

Seattle Pacific University

Author, Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity

“The Manifesto of the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education on the Renewal of Evangelical Theological Education has clearly emphasized its belief and support for multi-level approaches to leadership training for God’s kingdom. Today, approximately 80% of the world’s population cannot or will not hear our message when we communicate it to them in textual and literate ways and means. The insightful case studies in this book provide potential pathways forward in the theological education process.”

- Rev. Dr. Riad Kassis

International Director, International Council for Evangelical Theological Education

Director, Langham Scholars Ministry, Langham Partnership

“When you consider that 70% of those outside the current reach of the Body of Christ—the unreached and least-reached—the issue of how we communicate is even more crucial. Not only are there cultural barriers we have often failed to effectively understand, but the issues in this book get to the ‘way’ we try to both understand and reach Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhist—not to mention those who already have a solid witness of Christ.”

- Dr. Greg H. Parsons, Global Director, U.S. Center for World Mission

Chancellor, William Cary International University

“Orality is a complex of how oral preference learners best receive, process, remember, and replicate (pass on) news, important information, and truths. This book explores the deep resets and changes in both formal and non-formal theological education. We are invited once again to examine how content is framed and delivered in the midst of spiritual formation.”

- Dr. Bruce Wilkenson, President, Teach Every Nation

Author, Prayer of Jabez

"The models of theological education and leadership development that have received greatest attention and investment in the last hundred years have been those focusing on written materials. Students are required to read books and write papers. Theological books from the West have been translated into almost every language, strengthening the idea that learning only presupposes good literacy ability.
Accelerated changes are taking place in both formal and non-formal training, and theological education is undergoing a much needed renewal to meet the needs of the 21st century. The innovative practitioners in this book invite you into this journey of exploration with them. You will be challenged and you will wish to explore."

- Dr. Bertil Ekström, Executive Director, World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission

“These chapters represent the very best from the consultation on theological education and orality. We who have dedicated our lives to theological education to equip church leaders worldwide have a whole new world and a different set of church leaders where watching and listening and imitating now dominates the learning methodology. The demand to balance literacy with orality has never been stronger. High text has to expand to high tech and high touch if we will fulfill God's purpose for us in our generation. I highly recommend your attention to Beyond Literate Western Practices.”

- Dr. Mark L. Bailey, President and Professor of Bible Exposition

Dallas Theological Seminary

"Pushing their previous and widely-read conversations into the arena of practical implementation, Samuel Chiang and Grant Lovejoy have now provided this useful companion volume for those eager to employ orality as an essential component of theological education. Beyond Literate Western Practices will stimulate both thought and practice for those who grasp the significant role of orality in the future of missions."

-Tom Elliff, President, International Mission Board

Southern Baptist Convention

“With the pull towards oral-visual media, the framing of the content of our message must change, and our distribution and application of messages must be tailored accordingly for the new generation. This book provides real cases with thoughtful experiments; we are challenged to think about the oral preference learners for this new century. This book will also drastically challenge our theological curriculum to meet the needs of oral learners.”

    -Dr. Joseph Shao, General Secretary, Asia Theological Association

President, Biblical Seminary of the Philippines

“Learning is what matters, and these chapters wrestle with how spiritual leaders learn and grow. They ask good questions, challenge the status quo, stimulate our thinking, and provide positive examples of what can enable good learning. This book is a must read for those of us who are passionate about helping others learn.”

- Jane Overstreet, President/CEO, Development Associates International

"Beyond Literate Western Practices is a much needed and wholly helpful resource for missiologists and missionary practitioners around the world. The case studies and paradigms developed within it are an invaluable resource for missionaries and will undoubtedly result in greater kingdom fruit. I wholeheartedly recommend it to all those seeking to serve Christ among the world's oral learners."

- Dr. M. David Sills

President, Reaching & Teaching International Ministries

Professor of Christian Missions & Cultural Anthropology

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary