Jesus Christ did it almost 2000 years ago as he walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:27). Paul did it on Mars Hill. For the past few decades New Tribes Mission has been doing it amongst unreached tribal groups with tremendous results. In the past few years a breakthrough evangelistic video entitled God's Story was produced using this method, and the demand for translations has been enormous. In 2002, Mars Hill Productions produced an even higher quality film using this method, titled The HOPE (distributed by Films for Christ).
What method are we talking about? Simply this, start with Creation when you teach the Gospel, and present God's story chronologically from Creation to Christ. This is proving to be one of the most exciting and productive soul-winning and discipleship methods available! Thousands are being won throughout the world using this method.
While the concept dates back to the beginning of time, many Christians have failed to realize how effective chronological Bible story telling can be. It has now proven to work well with people of all ages, nations, cultures and classes.
After presenting this chronological method at Amsterdam 2000, we were overwhelmed for eight days straight with excited evangelists who eagerly signed up to put the technique to work in their countries.
Why is this method so important?
Unfortunately, most people only hear bits and pieces of the Bible, and never really understand how it all goes together. No wonder so many are confused about what the Bible and the Gospel is about and what it all means. They have simply never had the whole story clearly explained from the beginning, in correct order. Too many Sunday school teachers skip around throughout the Bible and fail to give students the true flow of history to provide context and clear understanding.
Paul Humphreys of GoodSeed says:
"There is a lot of talk today in 'church' circles about how little people know about the Bible… Biblical illiteracy is not a new trend. It has been around a long time. The underlying cause is explained by the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:18-32)… It seems almost impossible to have an accurate concept of God apart from the knowledge of certain foundational biblical stories.
The biblically illiterate need to begin with an understanding of who God is, and where they are in relationship to their Creator-Owner--truths set forth in the pages of the Old Testament. They need to know these things before we can expect an accurate response to what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross." (GoodSeed Gleanings, No. 6, Sept. 2000)
We are told that evangelists who show the Jesus film have found greater success when they first show the God's Story video. Why does this work so much better?
The apostles Peter and Paul understood this long ago. It is much like the difference in the Bible between evangelizing the Jews and the “Greeks” (the non-Jews). When the apostles shared the Gospel with Jews, they could start with a presentation of the evidence for Jesus being the Messiah. But the story of Christ sounded like foolishness to the “Greeks.” Why? They lacked a foundational understanding of who God is, where the world came from, sin, death, and God's plan. That is why in Rome, at Mars Hill, Paul started at the beginning when he shared the Gospel.
Does this method really work?
Yes, the results have been wonderful! It has been the difference between night and day for New Tribes Mission. They enthusiastically adopted this method throughout their ministry. The success is spreading to other missions, churches and evangelists, as well.
Steve Armour, a missionary in Brazil who uses and teaches chronological Bible storytelling reports:
We are very much interested in your new video “The Hope” (in Portuguese), as an additional teaching resource. I watched and was thrilled to see the honor and glory it brought to the Lord through its faithful Bible message. We are seeing hundreds of new believers as a result of many using systematic chronological teaching, and all of this in an area of Brazil said to be “hardened” to the Gospel! The Fire of God's Spirit is burning brighter even as the darkness around us grows greater. These are not "easy come, easy go" believers, but very well taught and grounded, dedicated new believers. They are helping to form the new army of “front line troops” for reaching this world for Christ.
Every month, our friend Dorothy Miller, Director of the God's Story Project, shares thrilling new reports coming from teachers and evangelists throughout the world who are using the video God's Story: From Creation to Eternity.
Here on ChristianAnswers.Net, The HOPE has proven to be the most effective evangelism video we have ever used (and we have used just about all of them). We are showing it on-line. Daily people are coming to Christ.
If you are serious about reaching out to those who don't have a clear understanding of the Bible and salvation, we highly recommend chronological Bible story telling and these wonderful resources. That is why we use this method ourselves and make these resources available through our ministry.
Resources you can use
A great new book entitled The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus has been written by
former New Tribes missionary workers. It brings this exciting method into an illustrated and simplified printed presentation anyone can use in their soul-winning and discipleship. You don't have to be a gifted orator to sit down with a neighbor and read through a book together, and that's the beauty of this resource.
God’s Story uses artist’s illustrations of biblical events to share the gospel, from Creation to eternity. It is available for purchase on DVD or VCD and is already available in a plethora of languages. Learn more.
To assist teachers, we provide a free curriculum based on God’s Story (available on-line for download).
The chronological method is also important for effective discipleship. For example, churches are supplying new believer classes, featuring either the The HOPE or God's Story. Both videos can easily be split into several shorter segments. In addition, the class reads through The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. This powerful combination produces growth and has proven to be effective in leading seekers to a saving knowledge of Christ—answering a plethora of the questions about God, Jesus, and mankind's sin.
Author: Paul S. Taylor, Films for Christ