Today we were given a research document that outlines the number of people groups in the world who have never heard the Gospel. Many of these groups don't have a language that has been written down. In other words people of an oral tradition.
This means that although we as Christians emphasise the importance of everyone having the Scriptures in their hands it means for these people to understand they need to be engaged by people who understand the oral tradition. Storytelling therefore comes into its own.
I must confess that I found it sobering to think that there were still millions of people who have never heard the story of the gospel.
We were asked to think about our response to the information imparted. Thinking about this brought me to reflect that we could learn a great deal from such an exercise. You see I started to consider that we too have millions of people in Europe and thousands in Scotland who know little about the stories of the Bible. Recently I was told that around 98% of school children in Scotland have no direct family contact with church.
Another fascinating statistic is that very few people read today. Most people get their opinions from the Television or from movies. If they do read it is in small doses. So though we may wish to promote the Bible as a book to read we should be aware that a huge section of our western population don't do reading and never have.
Perhaps it might be that those who workout the strategies for communicating faith to illiterate peoples may in fact be also uncovering rich seams from which others in the sophisticated west will benefit.
I came away challenged to continue to to engage with the power of the visual media to communicate ideas for this surely is the language of so many in the world today. Above all perhaps all of us need to see the value in storytelling in the same way that Jesus told stories to communicate great theological truths. Just think could Paul every out do Jesus when it comes to explaining Grace. The story of the Prodigal Son reaches across all shapes and sizes colours and intellects.