- Channel topics
- Finding faithHow people become Christians
- Effective communicationApproaches for biblical communication
- Bridge the gapMeeting people on the common ground of their interests & needs
- Bridging opportunitiesExamples and opportunities for using the Bridge Strategy
- Using cultureTypes of culture; understanding & using culture in evangelism
- Websites that workIssues for site planning, usability and promotion
- Problems in evangelismThings that stop us being effective
- Mission opportunitiesDigital evangelism & cross-cultural mission, mission & literature resources
- Writing wellHow to write effectively for the web or print media
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Oral communication cultures and Christian evangelism
Reaching them online
It is important to realize that many of these nations and people groups have ‘oral communication cultures’. They do not process information in the same way that you may – who probably had the opportunity of many years of education and are part of an educated ‘book culture’.
The West is often oral too!Because Christians are a ‘people of the Book‚ who usually read widely, we assume that others receive their information the same way. But it is not so! Even in the educated West, a considerable percentage of people are not natural readers – many read very little. I could take you to houses in my own street where they possess maybe six books in total. These people are literate, and read magazines, newspapers and TV schedule listings. But most of their information is received through radio, TV, and conversation. In other words, many people in the West are some way along the spectrum that leads to oral rather than book communication. Yet we assume that we can reach them using the methods that we prefer and understand – literature, books, and relatively abstract lecture-style sermons.
Research shows that even in the West, effective adult learning should include elements which are essentially oral communication methods.
This has implications for web evangelism, whether we are trying to reach non-western cultures, or the increasing numbers of western people online who are not really 'bookish' at all. Styles of web communication which may work well for a student or professional may not be very accessible to them. Homiletic sermons, Christian books, and many of our traditional methods, do not relate easily to many people. In fact, the two-way informality of the Web is arguably often much nearer to oral communication than printed literature. This is a subject which deserves considerable research and discussion.
There is an informal network for all interested in any aspect of oral communication including video ministry: Visual Story.
But it seems likely that web strategies which use short easy language with no jargon, short audio or video presentations, and aim at relationship-building, will be more likely to engage with oral cultures.
Understanding oral communication
- Comparison chart – the differences between book and oral cultures
- Storytelling – plus myth, folklore
- International Orality Network Christian networking to answer the question: How do you spread the Word to people who don’t read a word?
- Parables – why Jesus used them
- Redemptive analogies – finding embedded truths in culture
- Guide to storytelling – secular guide to a nearly-forgotten art
- Guide to storytelling – three storytelling principles to help sermons come alive through illustrations
- Web search on ‘oral communication culture’ for more useful sites
- Web search on ‘Christian oral communication culture’ for more useful sites
related pages within the Bridge the gap & Using culture menu links
recommended books on culture, including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry