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Storying Fellowship Groups – Telling, Not Reading

A Storying Fellowship Group (SFG) is a way of enabling people to hear and reflect on Scripture. This is done in the form of telling Bible stories orally in natural, colloquial language. It is believed that two-thirds of the world’s population learn orally, preferring to communicate and learn through spoken rather than written means (learn more here).

In four sessions from July-August 2022, Wycliffe Singapore (WSg) and Wycliffe Malaysia (WMB) jointly conducted a Mandarin SFG using a series of three stories from the book of Jonah.

Jonah and the Big Fish by Sue Bentley,

Through the sessions, participants from Malaysian and Singaporean churches listened to the three stories, re-told them, and reflected on the stories in small groups. Participants also had a chance to discuss how using the SFG method compared to other methods of Bible study, and who SFGs could be used with.

An SFG participant shares his experience

One of the Singaporean participants, Alan Chan, shares his experience of attending SFG for the first time.

Why did you sign up for SFG?

After serving in my church’s befriender ministry, I wanted to learn how to reach out in Mandarin. It was challenging at first, but my small group facilitator was very encouraging.

Did anything surprise you?

Jonah, Worm and Plant by Sue Bentley,

The trainers were so captivating and passionate. I felt like a Sunday school child again! Although we were encouraged not to refer to the Bible during the session and to only read the Bible after the session was over, I could not resist looking at the Bible as I was surprised by how the story of Jonah ended. It was really like that. I never realised the ending was so surprising before!

How was your overall experience with SFG?

It was a real eye-opener because we started to think out of the box!

Having gone through it, is there anything you would like to tell others about SFG?

Try it at least once in order to appreciate how effective storytelling can be!

Can SFG be used in Singapore?

SFG is not a new method. It has long been used in overseas mission fields, especially among people groups that rely primarily on oral traditions. Singapore is a highly literate country, with an adult literacy rate of 97.13% in 2020. However, though literate, many of us do learn well through aural and oral methods, such as through stories, videos and podcasts, possibly better than relying only on written methods.

Many existing Bible study methods in Singapore rely on written texts. Perhaps sharing and reflecting on oral stories can complement text-based Bible study methods, helping Scripture to come alive to people of all backgrounds. Even Christians can find new insights when hearing the stories instead of reading them. And perhaps stories, communicated orally, can be a way of sharing Christ to pre-believers in a non-intimidating way, inviting them to think about who God is, and to mull over what Scripture says about God and the world He created.

If you are interested in finding out more about oral storying, or participating in a workshop, please contact us.


Read about Oral Bible Storying in other countries:

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