Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World


Today in America, half of the people won’t or don’t read that much. Begin creatively transforming the lives of this generation by using first-century methods of teaching—storytelling, drama, and dialog. The “TruthSticks” strategy is a revolutionary approach using the DNA of the first century disciplemaking that will

  • Use Bible Storying to effectively make disciples at all ...
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Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World

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Today in America, half of the people won’t or don’t read that much. Begin creatively transforming the lives of this generation by using first-century methods of teaching—storytelling, drama, and dialog. The “TruthSticks” strategy is a revolutionary approach using the DNA of the first century disciplemaking that will

  • Use Bible Storying to effectively make disciples at all levels
  • Unite families by using fun methods to disciple children
  • Revitalize small groups
  • Develop a disciplemaking church
A creative tool to use in leadership, evangelism, or missionary work. Tyndale House Publishers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615215317
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Series: LifeChange Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 525,308
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Avery T. Willis Jr. was a pastor in Texas and Oklahoma for ten years and served as a missionary to Indonesia for fourteen years. He holds a ThD in missiology and is the executive director of the International Orality Network. He currently lives in Bella Vista, Arkansas, where he continues work in missions as a speaker, trainer, and consultant.

Mark Snowden is a world-class Bible-storying trainer who's worked with pioneers Jim Slack and J. O. Terry. He developed an oral Bible for use among a predominantly Muslim people group in central Asia and currently trains missionary and lay church planters in Bible storying.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 11

Acknowledgments 15

Introduction: Back to the Future 17

Chapter 1 Communicating Velcro Truth in a Teflon World 21

Chapter 2 Wired for Stories 31

Chapter 3 Using the Sensory Gates 41

Chapter 4 Making the Bible Come to Life 53

Chapter 5 Head, Heart, Hands 65

Chapter 6 Face-to-Face 77

Chapter 7 Touched to the Core 89

Chapter 8 The Sword of the Spirit 101

Chapter 9 Hooked for Life 113

Chapter 10 Jesus' Way of Making Truth Stick 125

Chapter 11 The Spiritual-Growth Story 135

Chapter 12 A New Operating System for Worldview 147

Chapter 13 Passing It On 159

Chapter 14 Lasting Change 171

Chapter 15 Multiplying 183

Epilogue: The Future Is Now 195

Appendix: Why the Johnnys of America Can't, Don't, or Won't Read 201

Glossary 207

Recommended Resources 215

Notes 225

About the Authors 235

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 4, 2011

    Good anecdotes on the power of Orality - short on specifics

    I eagerly read this book because I really wanted to know more about Bible storying and how to use orality in discipleship at our local church. I became familiar with this book through "Real Life Discipleship" by Jim Putman, and was excited to learn how to engage in sharing the truths of the Bible with oral-preference learners.

    This book contains just two main topics in my opinion, and covers neither with the depth required: 1) The historical background of, and anectodal examples demonstrating the power of oral Bible storying, and, 2) An overview of a very effective method of Biblical discipleship employed by Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho. I had already gotten both of those from the aforementioned "Real Life Discipleship" book, with much greater depth on the nuts-and-bolts of their discipleship model. When I read that book, light bulbs came on and I had multiple "Eureka" moments regarding the hands-on task of discipleship. This book didn't do that, so from that standpoint, get the Putman book.

    "Truth That Sticks" also failed to give me the detail I needed to implement Bible storying. It makes the case for it quite convincingly, and if you want to persuade someone to consider Bible storying then this is a great book as it gives a sound defense of the learning style of oral-preference people. What it doesn't give at all are concrete examples. That is, what I wanted but didn't find was something like: "We took the account of Adam and Eve and communicated it with the following story..(followed by a transcript of the story as it would be told)". What I mean is, at the end of the book I still wasn't any closer to knowing how to take a Bible passage and create a story which would be effective with oral-preference learners.

    In summary, for a tremendous reference on Biblical discipleship in small groups get "Real Life Discipleship". For storying consider the book "Making Disciples of Oral Learners", but don't plan on using "Truth That Sticks" as your one-and-only source in either endeavor.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting concept, but I'm not completely convinced...

    Literacy rates are on the decline and Attention Deficit Disorder is on the increase in America and around the world. With such a culture, there are many people who can not or will not pay attention to a traditional sermon. Truth That Sticks introduces an alternative form of communicating Biblical truth: Bible-storying. Bible-storying takes the parable approach sometimes used by Jesus when he taught. The basic steps of Bible-storying involve: telling a story from the Bible, asking questions about it or asking someone in the group to retell the story, and letting conversation about the story flow. This method is particularly suited to small group settings.

    I chose to read Truth That Sticks because I work as a children's church teacher and there have been times I have taught a lesson and then wondered if the children even heard what I was saying. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this book. The book gave some wonderful ideas about how to tell Bible stories and get children or adults to remember them. Since remembering the stories and applying the concepts of the story to the individual's life is basically the point of children's church, I found this portion of the book very helpful.

    This book also challenged me to compare modern church services with the early church in the Bible. I can not say that I completely agree with the authors of this book. They advocate that Bible-storying should be the main way of communicating Biblical truth for today's church. I think that using Bible stories is a unique and useful tool for communicating Biblical truth, but I don't think it should be the only or main way a church communicates truth. I know that Jesus told parables (stories), but he also read and elaborated on Scriptures. The apostles of the early church also used Scriptures, not only stories, to minister to the church. The New Testament epistles, written by leaders of the early church, are filled more with discourse than stories. While the facts about decreasing literacy rates are compelling, I think that the traditional reading of Scripture and elaborating on the Scriptures still has its place. In my opinion, Bible-storying is best suited to small groups, not to a regular church service.

    The authors did an admirable job of going beyond just Bible-storying and advocating that the church must reach out into the world. The statistics they gave were alarming. Six out of eight teens will leave the church directly after high school graduation. The book does not attempt to tackle all the problems of the modern church, but it does convince the reader that the church is failing to reach today's youth. Although, I did not personally agree with everything advocated in the book, I did find that reading this book caused me to have a greater desire to reach out to those around me.

    In the end, whether or not you agree with the authors' premise, it's a book that gives beneficial advice on telling Bible stories and I will keep the book for that reason.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted November 26, 2010

    Review of Truth That Sticks by Avery T. Willis Jr. and Mark Snowden

    In their book, Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World, Avery T. Willis, Jr. and Mark Snowden deal with the problem of discipling those with inadequate literacy or those who simply choose not to read. Through their experience with missionary work overseas and working with primarily oral cultures, they have developed a system of oral storytelling from the Bible. They have found this simple approach to be effective in engaging people through small groups, discussion, and practical application. Using the model of Jesus' teaching, they have found a way to bring oral learners into the church through a multi-disciplinary approach.

    As Christianity has been considered a religion "of the book," this approach seems simplistic and wrong minded, giving literate people a reason not to read the Bible. It appears to be an extension of the new trend toward experienced-based learning and an avoidance of education-along with basic reading and writing-based in texts. One has to wonder whether this allowance for learning preference will degrade general literacy and knowledge; as this approach becomes more popular, the popular theology of C.S. Lewis, who was a highly literate scholar, might be out of reach for those schooled in this practice. Oral storytelling might have been dominant in the time of Jesus, but returning to this mode of learning seems almost like a regression rather than an improvement.

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  • Posted October 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Truth that Sticks

    Avery T. Willis JR and Mark Snowden's book, Truth that Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World, is a sobering wake up call, highlighting the reality of illiteracy and inattentiveness in modern society. This book, although intended for church leaders and pastors as an aid in disseminating information about the gosepl message to parishiners and the unchurched masses, provides useful and applicable information to the layman or professional as well. The information and strategies for disseminating essential information is novel and unique ways need not only be applied to a church, but in any educational or professional areana as well.

    The rate of adults competant in literacy in today's modern society is suprisingly low. According to statistics, most adults have not even read a fiction novel within the past year! Furthermore, the average adult is apparently inacapable of reading a text book or a piece of literature. It seems that anything above the reading level of a Sports Illustrated article, The National Enquirer, or a Glamour magazine article is above and beyond tha abilities and attention span of the average American adult!!! While I am sure that it was not the intended purpose of the book, after reading this, I was left feeling quite discouraged and disheartened. The statistics of illiteracy were an overwhelming wake up call- so much so- that the remainder of the book, was somewhat oversshadowed by the sobering reality of how isolated any literate reader actually is. Today's society in bombarded with visual, hands on material and special effects that people do not have the attention spans or reading skills for anything that requires their brain cells to be put to work.

    Nevertheless, this book is very useful as there is no sense in denying the new reality. It is therefore more produtive to work with it and not against it, using new techniques that prove to be effective in disseminating knowledge or truth in a world that either rejects or can not absorb written communication methods. As a blogger for Navpress publishers I recieved this book for the purposes of writing a review. The opnions expressed are my own.

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  • Posted October 26, 2010

    Discipleship the Jesus Way

    Just enter your local or online bookstore and you will find just about every approach you could imagine on making disciples. However, I just read "Truth that Sticks", by Avery Willis Jr. and Mark Snowden, and I believe this book tops them all. Why? Because it is a call to make disciples the way Jesus did. How did Jesus make disciples? He invested His life in others and shared truth through the use of stories, or as they are called in the Bible parables. Everybody likes a good story and stories can be told over and over again.

    As a preacher and teacher of the truth, I love to share God's word. "Truth that Stick" points out that; "Preaching is like spraying milk out upon babies hoping that they will catch something in their mouth. Discipling involves one on one or face to face relationship and communications." I believe that as communicators of truth we have been doing just that. Spraying God's truth and hoping that it lands in the mouth of others. The problem is that while Jesus did "preach" to the masses he made disciples through one on one or small group interaction. Simply put, he invested in their lives to get His "life" inside them. "Truth that Sticks" has challenged me to stop trying to reinvent the wheel of discipleship and do it the way that Jesus did and created us for.

    When we tell the stories of the Bible we are repeating the revelation of God to man over and over again. We must engage the God given senses or "loops" that he gave us with the "hooks" of His truth. "Truth that Sticks" will do just that for leaders, teachers, preachers, parents, children and generations to come.

    "Truth that Sticks", is a must read for communicators of the Word of God. I embrace Jesus' model for discipleship and the truth's presented in this book. I am going to start "storying" the truths of God word so that it can greatly impact the lives of others. I highly recommend this book to be read and put into action. You will not be disappointed.

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