BLOG: Discipling oral learners

PALM (Preparing Arab-world Leaders for Ministry) has been serving the Arab church for nearly thirty years by developing culturally appropriate discipleship resources and leadership training.

In early 2016, a new form of discipleship training was launched. In response to a request from Arab church leaders, an orality version of PALM’s discipleship courses was launched in order to broaden the impact of biblical teaching in their fellowships.

A key method of outreach

Lausanne Movement research suggests that 80%[i] of the world’s population, that’s about 5.7 billion[ii] people, are oral-preference learners – depending on verbal means to receive, process, remember and pass on information. And more than half of them are among unreached people groups.

It is no surprise that demand for PALM orality courses has increased over the past few years. The programme, now available in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish, has expanded to encourage believers from Muslim-majority countries where there are no historic churches, and is particularly successful where literacy levels are low and orality is the only option.


Enabling spiritual growth

Excitingly, some of those who have been trained on a PALM orality course are now themselves training others. Abe*, a pastor serving in a west African country, recently shared this snapshot:

The Lord is at work! Orality has helped us significantly in ministry. As I have been putting the training into practice, I am seeing tremendous fruit… They are all growing spiritually in many ways, and they are sharing what they are learning with others.

A surge in demand

PALM orality groups can be found among believers from a Muslim background in at least nine countries in North and West Africa, with a number of groups becoming churches and appointing elders. More requests for training have been received than can be responded to, including requests from Pioneers teams in other parts of the world.

Pray for PALM leaders as they reflect on what ministry will look like in a post-COVID world, and are seeking to make wise decisions.


Pray that God’s Word goes deep

The Psalmist encourages us to ‘hide God’s word in our hearts’ (Psalm 119:11) that we might grow, fight temptation and be helped in our witness. As new believers take part in these orality groups, each lesson ends with a challenge to tell someone the story they have memorised and put it into practice in their own lives.

Please pray for believers from a Muslim background to understand, retain and apply the biblical truths they are learning. Pray too that the number of people involved in the PALM orality groups continues to multiply.


*Name changed to protect identities.




Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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