Mobile and Digital

Letting go of our most valuable resources
Author: Roy Meredith (Logosdor, Australia)

"Those under 20 are ‘digital natives’ — fearless and proficient in manipulating the media with understanding of it structure and potential. It is these young people we must harness to help Christians be salt and light on the internet social networking sites."

One person can only shake hands with about 25 people in 15 seconds - but if they all keep shaking hands with others, a whole room of 250 people can be reached in 15 secs. Such is the nature of viral videos!

Roy Meredith (Logosdor, Australia) tells us about 'R U Smarter than a Fly?' - a 5 part video narrative about the birth, life and death of Jesus as seen through the eyes of flies. He discusses the idea of viral videos and how Scripture engagement needs to take place where young people are online (e.g. social networking sites).  [more...]

Authors: Keith Williams, Leith Gray
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (27.3 July-Sept 2010)

"What we had failed to notice was that these nomads already had media players—their mobile phones! They were using them to listen to music and poetry as well as view videos. This realization changed our strategy, so we now start out by sharing individual Scripture stories on our phone during a visit, and then transfer it by Bluetooth to those who are interested."

This inspiring article encourages us to take advantage of the revolution in mobile phone technology to bring the message of Scripture to peoples around the world. The authors provide lots of examples of how mobile phones can be used.

For example: "When I walk out the door these days I’m blessed to have short selections of the audio panoramic Bible in the language of my people, as well as 40+ videos of Bible stories from creation to the crucifixion. In addition, I have numerous spiritual poems and musical Psalms ready and waiting in my pocket should the right opportunity arise. The great thing is that viewing and sharing photos, music, and videos on mobile phone is now so common among the people group I live among that whipping out my phone and sharing one of these video or audio files with them is completely natural!"  [more...]

Author: Lamar Vest (President and CEO, American Bible Society)
Published by: The Huffington Post (11 May 2010)

"The Bible has yet to beat the perception of being a dusty old rule book among millennials largely because to substantiate relevance and garner interest, the text first must be read... The message of the Bible is unchanging, but how we deliver that message not only can change, but must."

Lamar Vest discusses some of the strategies the American Bible Society is using to encourage the millennial generation to engage with the Scriptures, including creative delivery methods and "new tools that put the user in the driver's seat of their Bible experience".  [more...]

Some implications of mobile phone technology for Scripture distribution
Author: Richard Margetts

"When it comes to audio and video products, the mobile phone can be an effective method of getting the Scriptures to people... who then pass them on to other people... who then pass them on to other people..."

This article discusses some of the implications of mobile phone technology for encouraging the sharing of audio/video Scripture products. Questions raised include:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What are the best Scripture products for the phone?
  3. How will people get their first copy of the media files which they can then share with their friends?
  4. Are there any copyright issues involved?
  5. How could mobile phone technology become an obstacle to people engaging seriously with God’s Word?
  6. What are the most positive aspects of using mobile phones for Scripture distribution?
  [more...]
Theories and themes emerging from the World Wide Scripture Engagement Consultation
Author: Stephen Opie

"There is clear confusion among Christians about why they should read the Bible. For many, who have lived a Christian life without much engagement with the Bible, there is no perceived need to engage with it."

This paper, fruit of the recent WWSE Think Tank, seeks to engage with the 'Bible Engagement Crisis' in contexts where Bible availability is high but Bible use is relatively low. The focus is on the emerging generation who are less likely to use the Bible than the generations before them, especially using traditional methods.

After presenting the challenge, Stephen Opie outlines some of the strategic themes emerging, such as:

  • establishing relevance by listening first;
  • embracing technology, especially the Internet;
  • identifying grassroots movements and helping them to grow.
  [more...]
The Most Common Avenue to Increased Scripture Engagement
Author: T. Wayne Dye
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (26.3 Fall 2009)

The choice of medium can make a difference, and better artistic quality enhances any communication. However, the most important quality is how relevant the message seems to be to the lives of its hearers. If a hearer (or reader or viewer) thinks the message can make an important difference in his life, he will make an effort to listen, even if the quality is poor. Conversely, if he thinks it says nothing personally relevant, he will ignore even the best presented message. This principle of personal relevance is critical to communication.

Wayne Dye expands upon his third condition for Scripture Engagement:

Accessible forms: People are able to read the Scriptures or hear them from others or by listening to electronic media.

The article describes different ways of making the Scriptures more accessible: storying, literacy, local performing and visual arts, audio recordings, cell phones and video.  [more...]

Author: Rev Mark Brown (2009)

So I offer the challenge: that we inhabit this digital space, become part of the culture and learn the language of what Marc Prensky calls the, 'Digital Natives'. Those of us who have adopted technology later in life he describes as, 'Digital Immigrants' and like anyone immigrating to a new country, there is a need to learn.

Mark Brown, CEO of Bible Society New Zealand, outlines some of the cultural shifts that need to be understood in order to encourage Scripture engagement among 'digital natives'.

At Bible Society New Zealand in response to the appalling Bible engagement rates amongst Christians we wanted to find out, 'Why don’t people read there Bible more often?' The overwhelming reason is that people are distracted, their attention drawn to other things as they scan their environment.

To stimulate conversation, the author presents some provocative predictions of how the web might influence the production, understanding and appreciation of the Bible.

The paper was presented at the symposium: Christianity in the Digital Space, at St. John's College, Durham, UK, July 2009. Notes on the subsequent discussion can be found here.  [more...]