Gospel Outreach bases Bible training curriculum on storytelling. For 25 years, Gospel Outreach has been guided by one goal—to share the good news of the gospel with unreached people in the 10/40 Window. The apostle Paul’s words in Romans 15:20 are prominently displayed as a reminder to everyone who enters our headquarters office in College Place: “I make it my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ is not known.”
As a result, the majority of our efforts focus on the Hindu, Chinese, Buddhist, Muslim and animistic worlds. Combined, these groups represent more than half of the world’s 7-plus billion people. Most of the workers that Gospel Outreach currently supports live in places where less than 5 percent of the population has ever had a chance to know Jesus.
Reaching the unreached effectively is challenging! One of the chief reasons is that people from these various religions have no background in Christianity. They do not share a common belief in Scripture or faith in the God of the Bible. In addition, more than 50 percent of the population in these same areas are oral/aural learners. Even if they are literate, they don’t learn by reading. Where do we begin?
Recently, Jon Dybdahl, Beverly Thompson, Kip Ault and I began an exciting project—developing a series of Bible lessons designed to lay a biblical foundation on which to build faith in God for people with no background in Christianity and no knowledge of the Bible. These lessons will be accessible to oral/aural learners, including those who are not literate.
As people who have grown up with the Bible, we who are lifelong Christians can easily forget how much this foundational knowledge of God has affected our lives. Our view of God, our identity, our destiny, our concepts of integrity—much of our world view—have all been molded by the Bible.
Since childhood, we have heard the stories of biblical heroes—Noah, Sarah, Moses, Ruth, David, Elisha, Jonah, Daniel, Esther, Mary, Peter, Paul, and dozens more. We came to know God through His dealings with these biblical characters—both good and bad. Through their stories, we encountered God’s power and His goodness, His patience and His justice. Without even realizing it, we came to know God through hearing His story. Through these stories, we first encountered Jesus—a baby, a boy, a son, a man, a savior, a king.
These new Gospel Outreach lessons include 50 chronological Bible stories—25 from the Old Testament and 25 from the New Testament. Realizing how important a strong biblical foundation is for every believer, we have chosen stories that reveal God’s character and Jesus’ ministry.
In addition to building a firm foundation for their faith, new believers (especially those from the world religions) need to experience Jesus personally. We have, therefore, included stories that deal with important life issues.
- Stories to lead people to a taste-and-see experience with God.
- Stories to lead people to healing from spirit possession, illness, addictions, etc.
- Stories to show how to have a strong spiritual life through prayer, study of Scripture, forgiveness, etc.
- Stories to lead people to make a decision to accept Jesus.
- Stories to teach Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, leading to a decision for baptism.
- Follow-up stories on relevant topics for ongoing nurture of new believers from non-Christian backgrounds.
Completing this course will take time—many months. Our goal is that these lessons will enable Gospel Outreach workers to focus on the entire discipleship process from first contact to baptism and beyond.
Please pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit this August as we begin training leaders and Gospel Outreach workers in India to use these new lessons.
We are introducing the new storytelling Bible curriculum in India this summer. Won’t you ask God how you can help to sponsor supplies, travel expenses, and instructional materials for training GO workers and leaders? Your generous gifts will be greatly appreciated.
By Pat Gustin, Vice President, Field Operations
Pat Gustin is a career missionary having served six years in Singapore, 17 years in Thailand, and nine years as director of the Institute of World Mission at Andrews University. Currently, she is vice president for field operations at Gospel Outreach.