Updated: Big Story training

Back by popular demand: the training document for the Big Story has been updated and re-released on this website. And a fuller explanation of the Big Story can be found in the book, True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In, or the booklet, Based on a True Story. Blessings!

View All


  1. New blog post: "Updated: Big Story training" http://is.gd/cPHhX


  2. I found your article, “Can Women Teach: An Exegesis of 1 Tim 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-40.” I want to thank you for taking the time to research, write it, and make it available online.

    It meant a lot to me.


  3. After all this time, I realized I never said, “You’re welcome!” =)


  4. Testing the new tweet button http://t.co/axd86Cg via @jameschoung


  5. […] Reposted (June 14, 2010): The training document is updated and available again. […]


  6. Do you mind if I copy and share this booklet with our Evangelism Class at our church? Thanks!


  7. Hi Blake. Definitely. As you probably know, the book can be helpful in filling out the theological details and has an example of how you might have a conversation about this kind of stuff.

    But yes, please feel free to use the training guide.


  8. […] 3: The training document has been updated and reposted. […]


  9. Dear James,

    I often share the gospel with Koreans & foreigners in Korea and am training Korean soldiers at a nearby army base. I’d like to use the training document for the BIG STORY but when I downloaded it, it became illegible. How can I get a copy that I can use with my class (I’m 74 & don’t know much about computers)?
    Sincerely, Ruth
    P.S. I’m supporting 565 students in 3 mission schools in India & am looking for a church or agency to adopt them. Got any ideas?


    1. Hi Ruth –

      That’s exciting to hear. Also, do you know that there’s a Korean language translation of the video, book and booklet available from InterVarsity Press Korea?


      Make sure you have the latest PDF reader, which can be downloaded here:


      It’s great to hear what you’re doing!


  10. Thanks for the advice. I downloaded an updated Adobe file & your pdf of the Big Story. Do you have any idea where Koreans are in respect to the gospel? I’ve been told that many non-Christians use the excuse of hypocrites in the church to reject Christ, so maybe the emphasis of THE BIG STORY is needed to correct this weakness.


  11. Yes, even Korean-Americans also see the hypocrisy as well. I wouldn’t call it an excuse — they’ve really seen some junk from people who are Christian by name, and it’s not easy to overcome. They’ll need a witness from someone they trust and from someone who authentically seems like the Christ they hear about in the Bible.

    But I’m glad you got the .pdf!


  12. I saw the big picture being presented while people putting up their hands at the end of the session because they want to be part of the 3rd circle (restored for better). So far so good.

    Then I asked ‘ what did they put up their hands for?’ Was it they preferred to be in the better world than a broken world? What reasonable person wouldn’t want to have a peaceful happy existence in a peaceful world? The Buddhist wants it too. The Hindu wants it. The Mormon wants it. Even the Atheist wants it (without God in the picture of course). As I thought more about this method, it dawned upon me that this method can become another manipulative method to win people to Christianity. Get people to put up their hands to make decisions by making it very easy to ‘yes’.

    But say ‘yes’ to what? A better lifestyle? A peaceful life with others? An unbroken world? Healing the world? None of these, however nice they are, are core to the gospel. I’ve seen one presentation on the internet where the person used the method to say that God want to save the environment – pollution, greenhouse effects, etc. I know this is a way off example but look carefully at what the Big picture presentation focuses on.

    The gospel is God centric, glorifies God in its message, emphases the wonderful grace of God in showing mercy to sinners. It focus on an abundant life through a living relationship with a Holy God. If someone doesn’t want to know God more, forget how many times the sinners prayer has been said – that person is not ready.

    This Big picture method emphases man and what he can ‘get’. It’s man-centric in its message, with snippets of Christ work on the cross thrown in but never the focus. The focus is what man can get.
    The Big picture method avoids personal accountability for sin. Sin is de-emphasised and replaced by generic terms like ‘evil’ and ‘we contribute to the mess’. It avoids the core message of the gospel – repentance from sin. No one will come away after hearing the presentation with a sense that they have personally sinned against a Holy God. Why? Because this method has replace the core message of the gospel with something that is more palatable to people who want the benefits of the gospel but refuses the cost – confession for personal sin against God, and repentance.
    ‘Do you want to make Jesus the leader of your life’ is not the same as repenting from sin and turning to Jesus as both Lord and Saviour.
    Mush as I like the Big picture method because it is simple and attractive to use, I won’t be using it in its current form because it is not presenting the gospel honestly. It has watered down the gospel for the sake of tally up decisions from the unsuspecting. It is
    The result? Filling the membership of churches with unconverted people who think they have been converted just because they want the 3rd circle but have not met the requirements of the gospel – repentance from sin and faith towards God. The Big picture method, in its current form, avoids both of these.

    When a person understands who God is, and that he has personally sinned against God, but God has been so gracious to him by sacrificing His Son Jesus Christ to redeem him back – you don’t need to entice him to come, he will come pleading – like the prodigal son. Why are people not doing this? Because we have replaced the gospel with a seeker-friendly version of the gospel without telling people that they have sinned against God.

    if someone wants to read a good book on soul winning, may I recommend Spurgeon’s book ‘the Soul winner’. – a must read for every evangelical Christian

    I apologize if my letter does not praise the method and sound critical.
    It is my point of view. And points of view can often be wrong.

    I am so concerned that well meaning evangelicals often pronounce unconverted people as ‘Christians’ just because they said the sinners prayer without making sure they have understood the gospel.
    The unconverted people think they’re Christians, then join churches, and then rise to leadership.
    Some even become pastors. And the consequences? Just look at the state of the churches in your own city – how many ‘Christians’ you know show evidence that they actually know Christ personally?


  13. Sorry for some of the gramma mistakes in my previous post. Should have checked before I posted


  14. Hi Clie,

    Thanks for the comment, and I hear someone who sincerely wants the Gospel to be rightly preached. That’s to be commended!

    And if the Big Story is used to do the things you are saying, then it’s also being distorted. It would grieve me if the cross wasn’t central in the presentation, which is why we created lines in the middle to emphasize allegiance to Jesus and no other. Sure, the biblical concepts may have different terminology, but it isn’t taking away from the main definitions. In fact, It seeks to amplifying sin and its affects to move beyond just the personal — though it is personal — and move it also into relational and systemic dimensions. It’s actually taking sin far more seriously than breaking a bunch of rules that irreligious people don’t care about.

    To dig more deeply, I’d suggest reading my book “True Story” which helps with the diagrams underlying theology, or even “Based on a True Story” as a booklet written for skeptics and seekers.


Leave a Reply