General Storying FAQs​

It’s not a word you’ll find in a dictionary. Many call it “storytelling”, but we prefer the term storying to capture the ministry aspect of what we do; discipling, internalizing, and multiplying storying groups.

We craft each story with mother tongue speakers of the language. We use a variety of visual and audio sources from all the languages the storytellers understand.

Storycrafting is the process of producing a Bible story that is natural sounding, orally reproducible, and biblically accurate. It should sound like a story told among friends rather than one that is memorized or read. This means working with a full episode or story, rather than trying to translate it or write it out verse-by-verse, and then memorizing it.

Keeping storying oral, not written, helps keep the stories natural when they’re told. As soon as there is a written script, the tendency is to memorize rather than to tell it naturally.

Unless they already know the language and understand the culture, our teams go deep in language and culture learning. Then they work with mother tongue speakers to select the stories and themes that really resonate with the host culture. So, every story set, like every culture, is different.

We generally follow the four Cs of story selection:

Culture — The stories should address the spiritual needs of the host culture

Coverage — The story set should cover the basics of what a new believer should know from the Bible. We use the Apostles’ Creed for this.

Cohesion — The stories should feel like one cohesive macro-story… the story of God redeeming humankind.

Chronology — The stories are presented in chronological order.

After crafting, there are a series of testing and revision cycles until each story is found to communicate the message as intended. Then it is recorded with high quality recording equipment. Teams are encouraged to make distribution plans to ensure media is shared and used widely.

The crafting team checks that every line of the story is “anchored” in scripture. A consultant does the same check. The crafting team also checks retellability.

There are several answers to this question:

  • Oral learners are much better than print/technology focused learners at keeping information intact. Their brains are wired to learn stories well and pass them on without change because it’s their main way of passing on information. All stories in a OneStory project go through a retellability check to make sure that an average member of the community is able to learn it fairly easily and retell it intact.
  • Most oral communities are more group focused, while literate communities are more individualistic. When a group owns a story they can self correct when a single member might miss a detail.
  • In OneStory projects there is always a master version of the stories. So storytellers can go back to it for a refresher when necessary.

Not at all. Storying can be a great precursor to a written translation or great way to build more interest in a translation that’s not getting used as widely as was hoped.

Several OneStory projects have resulted in a broad interest in literacy. People hear Bible stories in their mother-tongue that touch them to the core. They want to know more about this Jesus guy (or Moses or David). They learn to read so they can find out more.

God is most glorified when people know him and worship him in Spirit and in Truth. For most people this happens best through their mother-tongue, or heart language.

Quest projects take around three years. People working in their own languages often go faster. We call these mother-tongue projects.

OneStory Quest FAQs

Right now we are recruiting four people to go to Northern Nigeria. You’ll join a team of Nigerian Bible translators and church planters to learn language and culture, and craft a story set.

The project will start when all four people have joined a sending organization (link missing) and seen God raise their funds. It’s a vague answer, we know!

In different phases of the project, your days look different!

In the beginning phase you might meet with mother-tongue language helpers for a few hours, go out and practice when you’re learning in the community.

In the storycrafting phase, you might craft one story in the morning, go meet with a bilingual speaker to “back-translate” a different story into English in the first part of the afternoon. And then in the second part of the afternoon, type the back-translation for your consultant to check.

Here’s one day from Cara, a story worker in the Philippines:

As I stumble into the bathroom before dawn, I hear a faint cacophony of sounds in the distance. A motorcycle roars, a dozen roosters compete to herald a new day, a dog barks. Fortunately, the sounds are far enough away that they are still drowned out by the sound of my fan as I crawl back into bed for another half hour.
When the day begins, I go through my morning routine and then sit down with my story crafter. We listen to recordings of people who answered questions about the stories we are working on. She helps me understand what people are saying (sometimes they mumble, sometimes they use words I’m not familiar with, sometimes they just talk too fast for me to comprehend).
Based off their answers, we volley ideas back and forth about how to edit our story to make it easier to remember and comprehend. This is the part I love. We laugh about some of the ideas. We record about 20 times due to all the outtakes. Then we are ready to take the story to a village the next day and test it out with new listeners.

  • for lost people
  • for oral learners

Well, these are more what we’re looking to see represented in the whole team, but…

  • Flexible
  • Teachable
  • Resilient
  • Resourceful
  • Persistent
  • Organized
  • Detail oriented
  • Learner
  • Humility
  • Committed to the success of the team
  • Focused on relationships

Nope, introverts have done very well!

People with backgrounds in many fields have been successful-engineering, music, Biblical studies, speech and hearing science, education, computer science, linguistics… OneStory provides just in time training in your location to equip you for the task. The level of prior education depends on the organization you join.

People who can say:

  • My competence is less significant than my contributions to making the whole team successful.
  • When opportunities arise, I am ready and willing to pursue them.
  • I am ready and willing to take initiative to the level permissible within the team.
  • I am willing to serve as a member of a team, or to serve through leadership, as needed by the team.
  • The relationships I build are as important as the work I do.
  • Lifelong learning is an important part of my development.
  • God has called us to work together in unity as the church to achieve the work. I can’t say I don’t need others, I need to do my part.
  • My contribution is significant and important to the work of the team.
  • I strive to live according to Biblical principles through the power of the Holy Spirit.