Each week, I get responses from people reading this blog, our e updates and other communications. I love hearing from people and I do read each and every email and note. This is a great encouragement to me. Consistently, people thank me for the various emails or newsletters we send out because they are encouraged or uplifted by the stories we share. I love that.
Our newsletters have become more and more popular and the first newsletter of the year is complete. The theme for this newsletter was about how media enhances existing on-the-ground ministries
. I sat down with my good friend McDaniel Phillips, another veteran TWR Canada missionary
, to talk about this.Ray:
I have always believed that media combined with on-the-ground follow up and connecting listeners to local pastors, congregations, and house churches is one of the best ways to equip believers to grow and mature in their faith. Believers need to meet other believers – that fellowship is critical especially in areas of high persecution and discrimination.McDaniel:
That overlap has a multiplication factor as well. We come alongside the local pastor or ministry already working with a particular group or in a specific area. They are our eyes and ears. They know the people, know what the people are looking for, seeking, thirsting for, and we are able to deliver media content to meet that need. The multiplication happens when those pastors and ministries take the content we give them, and they duplicate and distribute it to people and groups who might not ever be able to access the content available through the radio or internet.Ray:
And those believers on-the-ground who partner with us aren’t just pastors and ministries. We also look to partner with these people to translate programming into their own language and contextualize it for their culture and traditions. Many times, these translators and producers and technicians have ministries and connections they share the content with.McDaniel:
We cannot adapt in a vacuum. We need these people on the ground. I think of our partner in Egypt, Together Network, who saw the prevalence and penetration of social media among young believers as a source of information and is trying some interesting initiatives there. We’re watching that and seeing how they’re incorporating social media into the discipleship training model of Discipleship Essentials
, how the participants are engaging and benefiting from that platform. We’ll take what’s working and offer those insights to partners in other parts of the world, Philippines or Pakistan for instance. The global youth culture is helping us rethink media strategies.Ray: TWR Canada exists to assist the Church through media
, so I am always looking for new ways to strategically approach ministry around the world. The Seminary on the Air (SOTA)
is a great example of this, right. They took a radio program and listened to the local believers on-the-ground and asked how can we make this better, more accessible, offer more value and equipping? They offered the seminary training on a Mp3 player to begin with so students could listen when it was convenient and replay content.
The SOTA team then created a set of six textbooks around the same time the lessons were offered online. Now the team is distributing a stand-alone tablet (read more about that here
) to students so they have access to a large resource library, audio and visual content, participate in student meetings in real time, and even can submit lessons and receive feedback through a single device. This innovation was entirely based on student and church leader feedback of what would most enhance and equip the student’s learning experience so they could do ministry on-the-ground.McDaniel:
As a smaller partner office, TWR Canada has been able to maximize the capacity of current resources for new media platforms. This kind of agility is difficult for larger offices with more complex processes, but just as we’re looking to our smaller on-the-ground partners for innovation, the larger partner offices watch what we’re doing. We’re all learning and helping others to learn.Ray:
We received responses from a group of pastors we sent media resources to. I cannot say where they live. They were able to get help to send this and I think their experience demonstrates how essential this overlapping of ministry and media resources is.
“I am 34 years old and I got to know about Christ six years ago. I do not read and do not write. As you know we live [in a Muslim country] and as Muslim background believers we are persecuted in our community. Even with all of this, we glorify the Lord Jesus with courage. The media player, which came to us with the gospel in [our language] helped us understand the gospel. It clearly states that Jesus is the only mediator between God and men, the only truth that leads to God and that alone gives real life to a detestable sinner. Jesus Christ, who was sinless, dies for us, to atone for us… God bless you for all you have done in the name of Christ. It is the first time we have heard the gospel in [our language]. Thanks, Lord Jesus! Please pray for our teams working locally around the world as they interact with local believers to help them connect and grow spiritually, and pray for wisdom and discernment for us and our local partners so that we can continue to develop effective media tools.