Media Ministries in a Changing World—Perspectives from Eurasia
In April, 2012, I sat across the table from a colleague I’ll call Rosemarie, who works in one of the most remote areas of one of the most limited-access countries of Eurasia. We had the following conversation:
“Rosemarie, did you see the great presentation by John, one of our colleagues who lives in the largest city of his country?”
I went on to describe John’s “Local Proverbs” cell phone based project to her fascination. John has used local proverbs, music, and art to create over 20 short downloadable “clips” that have become the ring tones and favorite video clips of his community. They appreciate that he has respected their language and culture enough to organize and finance this. John plans next to use the proverbs as a bridge to introduce the “proverbs of King Suleiman and King Daoud” of the Old Testament.
Then, I stopped myself. “I am so sorry Rosemarie, I realize now that I just explained a fantastic new idea for cell phones to you, when I know that none of the villages in your mountainous region have electricity, cell coverage, or internet.”
She quickly responded, “Steve, you are correct that in our villages there is no electricity, no cell coverage, and no internet, but I loved your story and the new idea, because everyone in our area has a smart phone.”
She went on to explain that hidden under the long, flowing robes common in her area, people carry around with them the one electronic device they own. They have bypassed mp3’s, CD players, TVs, cameras, and personal computers; they have all their precious information (songs, wedding videos, photos, art projects, local fêtes, movies, and personal video clips) on one small easy-to-hide device they recharge by solar panel or at a local car-battery powered charger shop.
If we take the area from northern Africa to the Middle East, continue up through Turkey and into the former Soviet “Stans” (CIS), come back around to the border of India (which would include Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran), we have a vast, diverse region. There is certainly no one-size-fits-all language, or approach, or media tool that will declare the Gospel in culturally appropriate ways.
The peoples of Eurasia are seeking freedom. They have been forced to learn the language and the manners of larger dominating people groups. Whereas they see the educational and financial benefits to learning one of the major languages of the region (Turkish, Russian, Persian, Urdu, or Arabic), the peoples of Eurasia also know that in their heart, their family, their neighborhood, and their community they speak (and prefer) a minority language. Eurasians want to communicate and express their deepest needs in these Eurasian languages.
Empowering Eurasians to Share the Message of Christ
How can the Gospel benefit from the fact that Eurasia is different, diverse, and developing? Think about the powerful potential if we empower mother-tongue speakers to create varied, culturally appropriate, cost-efficient, media tools proclaiming the Gospel in their own language!
Here, in their own words, are what some of these ministries would look like:
Pamir Productions is a media ministry focused on Afghans, primarily in Afghanistan. Our vision: to see Afghans follow Jesus Christ and develop healthy accessible fellowships in Afghanistan and around the world.
Led primarily by Afghans, the Pamir Productions team produces daily radio programs and weekly TV programs. We also translate Scripture, produce DVDs, literature, and audio products in digital and other formats.
Listeners and viewers contact our call-centres every day in response to the broadcasts. We counsel them on their faith journey. We disciple believers so they are trained and motivated to disciple other Afghans and become active participants in local bodies of believers.
We maintain a number of websites including: SadayeZindagi.com where radio programs and printed materials are available; AfghanBibles.org where Afghans can read the Bible; and AfghanCTV.org has our TV programs available to watch or download. For information write [email protected]
Global Heart Worship
Global Heart Worship is a ministry created to carry the message of Hope to Central Asia. We empower indigenous believers to produce programs and dub films in the heart languages of several Eurasian nations. We are confident that their message – from Eurasians to Eurasians – is vital for their local communities. Our latest production was twelve programs for the women of Turkmenistan, partnering with Gospel Wave Ministry who will distribute them by satellite television. We are also assisting with the dubbing of a new animated series of 39 Bible stories entitled Friends and Heroes www.friendsandheroes.com as well as producing music videos and other Children’s programs with local believers. Our website: www.globalheartworship.org.
Kairos Media Trust is a registered UK mission charity which specialises in training national believers to do dubbing and production work for Christian media. For over 12 years, Kairos workers have been involved in a variety of Central Asian media projects in 7 languages, including the widescale distribution of the children’s animation “Miracle Maker.”
Kairos is currently establishing a production centre in the region with the immediate aim of producing a series of children’s programmes in Kyrgyz and Central Asian Russian. The new production hub also does dubbing work in Turkmen, Kazakh and Russian. For information: [email protected]
Sabeel Media is a spiritually focused way of engaging all people through their mother tongue with the creativity of the scriptures through the media arts. The scriptures are for everyone, not just Christians. We use …Creative art forms, Timeless stories, Relevant and accessible media, Core beliefs, and an Engaged artistic community.
We use a chronological approach (Luke 24:27); We plant and water seeds (Isaiah 55:10-11); We give our audiences a taste of who the Lord is (Psalm 34:8).
We distribute primarily through existing on-line free and low cost distribution channels such as Youtube, Vimeo, Myspace and Facebook. Our video promo- https://vimeo.com/17769387
· VIDEO SHORTS- http://youtu.be/QaU9oGhrHFE Vignette from Solomon Story
· AUDIO DRAMAS- http://www.alanbiya.net/ Bedouin Arabic Bible Stories
· POETRY- https://www.sabeelmedia.com/node/93
· ORIGINAL MUSIC- Psalms of David https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/sabeel-media/id408017696
· MUSIC VIDEOS- https://vimeo.com/12084657 Psalm of David 23
· CULTURAL CONTENT- Intersection of faith and culture video shorts http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL59E95BC4E079BC29
OneHundredFold is a ministry of UFM Worldwide. We seek to impact those with the least access to Scripture and knowledge of the Gospel through a number of initiatives.
We provide usability consulting to scores of ministries. With 60% of all Internet use being on mobile devices it is critical that ministries retool for mobile, with mobile ready websites, appropriate mobile apps, and shareable media on Micro SD and Bluetooth. We provide training, consulting, and are actively working on mobile ready projects.
With Telemensahe we are developing a cloud based phone delivery system that allows anyone to make a local call and hear a Gospel-focused message in a language that they know. With our partners we plan to roll this out in several countries next year.
We are developing “micro servers” that can run a web server on a small device without connection to the internet. This allows sharing of media and training content in an unrestricted way without the concerns of online tracking and tracing.
Reach us at [email protected].
There are many other media ministries in Eurasia. If you want more information about them, or information about the annual Eurasia Media & Distribution Consultation (EMDC) that brings scores of these ministries and individuals together, please write me, Steve Baughman, at [email protected].