A group discusses a story.

A group discusses a story.

In order to achieve our vision of multiplying communities of faith among unreached oral people groups, StoryRunners developed our tool: the School of Storying.

The School of Storying is a fast-track and innovative residence workshop with local people who develop The Promise, a series of 40 Bible stories from Creation to the Return of Christ, in their own language in just four weeks.

There are four principles of story development that we follow:

  1. Biblically Accurate: A School of Storying trainer compares each story to its biblical text to ensure accuracy.
  2. Orally Reproducible: Each story is easy to learn and retell, using simple language. Usually, the stories are between two and three minutes in length.
  3. Culturally Appropriate: A focus group of non-Christians tests each story to ensure the stories are understandable within the local non-Christian culture.
  4. Naturally Told: The storytelling format conforms to stories in the people group’s culture and uses everyday words the
    people will understand.

We focus equally on developing the stories and teaching principles of evangelism, discipleship, and church planting through a story group. Each day the participants learn new stories and share them in the local community with the intention of starting a story group and launching a multiplying movement of followers of Jesus during the time our team is there. After our team leaves, the participants continue to multiply story groups that grow to become new churches.

Every evening, the participants in the School of Storying practice telling the stories in the community. This is a great way to test our stories, as well as expose people to God’s Word, and to gather interested people into story groups. The process of leading a story group is simple and reproducible, and we train our participants to raise up new leaders for their groups from among the attendees. This model is then repeated–the participants train new people to lead groups, who then train others, who then train others until an organic multiplying movement of Christ-followers takes off among the people group. StoryRunners continues to partner with them throughout the process, offering storytelling trainings and ongoing coaching and encouragement.

These workshops have shown how true it is that everybody loves a good story–and these stories change lives!

So what is the School of Storying all about?


Developing Stories – An oral Bible story is a two to three minute abbreviated and simplified version of a biblical passage(s). We work with local volunteers to develop The Promise into their language, using a six-step process.

Working through Partners – We desire to build relationships with national Cru ministries and their local partners

Learning and Training – During our workshops, the local volunteers meet daily in Bible story groups to discuss, apply, and retell stories. Once our workshops are over, the volunteers use stories in ministry by sharing them daily in the surrounding community, as well as training more volunteers to tell the stories, too.

Building Community—Volunteers develop relationships as they learn the Word of God and fellowship together. Often these volunteers don’t know any other believers before this training.

Transforming Lives – God uses stories to change lives—unbelievers follow Christ, while believers grow in their faith, get involved in full-time ministry, and trust God in new ways.

Continuing Ministry – Local Christians use the stories for evangelism, discipleship, and church planting to change lives and to transform communities.

Developing a Story in Six Steps...

1. Story Learning

Each group listens to an audio recording of a Bible passage in a language they all understand and discusses essential elements to include in the story. A storyteller from each group records an initial version of the story in the local language.

2. Peer Review

Two groups meet together to peer review their stories. Meanwhile, the StoryRunners trainer reviews an English translation of the newly-developed story. The group and trainer then meet back together and discuss recommendations for improvements to the first draft.

3. People Check

Non-Christian guests, unfamiliar with the Bible, listen to a story several times and answer questions to assess whether the story is simple for everyone in the culture to understand. Guests retell the story to ensure ease of learning and retelling.

4. Group Check

The workshop participants listen to the stories again to ensure consistent terminology and check for continuity from one story to the next.

5. Showcase Check

The storyteller from each group tells the story to another group to test if people unfamiliar with the story can learn and retell it accurately.

6. Final Bible Check and Studio Recording

The StoryRunners team reviews an English translation of the final version of the story to compare the accuracy of the story to its biblical source. The storyteller makes any needed adjustments and then records a final master in an improvised studio (pictured right).

We develop the same 40 stories, called The Promise, in every language we work with. You can listen to The Promise in English here.