Each Wednesday, TWR Canada provides a brief update on a project or ministry from around the world. Learn about many different aspects of our global ministry, and be encouraged by stories of lives that have been transformed by the power of the gospel.
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The Christian Church in China is growing faster than anywhere else in the world. Maybe too fast? There aren’t enough trained pastors and lay leaders, and false teaching is infiltrating churches in China. Dr. William Tsui – Director of TWR Canada’s China Ministry, leads our SOTA program – Seminary on the Air.
Technology is rapidly changing allowing TWR to constantly innovate and utilize what's available to the mass market to reach people with the Gospel. SOTA is one ministry always looking for new ways to deliver great content more efficiently and cost-effectively. Our SOTA students are all educated and literate, so that greatly influences the technology we choose for this ministry.
SOTA began as a radio ministry, but this was ultimately problematic for students. If you were unable to listen to one episode you fell behind and had no way to catch up. If governments blocked the signal, it could be days or weeks before you found the new location for the signal on the dial. Due (in part) to the stated limitations of radio, it's no longer being used by SOTA.
Internet and Website
SOTA lessons can be archived online allowing students to catch up or study at their own pace. This requires an internet connection and a computer, which are easily available to many of our students. Download times, especially for the audio, are an obstacle for some students with slower internet connections (rural churches).
Media players allow SOTA to load hours and hours of content, along with an audio Bible, for students to listen at their convenience. Groups can listen around a media player and it's easily transportable.
These media players are digital and need a traditional power source, which is not a problem for many of our students. This player has a digital display allowing for easy navigation and for video content to be loaded as well.
Used as a resource for the audio lessons, SOTA has produced a series of six textbooks that follow the audio program (all six will be printed by the end of 2014). There are Christian bookstores in China, but they have limited resources so students really appreciate these textbooks designed to follow the SOTA curriculum.
The next step SOTA is working on developing are tablets. These computers fit into a backpack. The tablet will have the textbooks as e-books and the audio lessons so that students can listen and follow the outline simultaneously. Tablets allow students to do their SOTA lessons electronically, send the completed lesson to their teacher, and chat in real time with teachers and other students via messaging, video or phone apps.
Tablets will allow SOTA leaders to add new content or update existing lessons for students remotely. Students will be able to access the updates with the click of a button.
TWR continues to take advantage of all this technology to give students flexibility and accommodate as many as possible.