Using Media

An interactive workshop for training listening group leaders and promoters
Author: Richard Margetts (2016)

Available in both English and French.

The training workshop described in this guide was developed in West Africa and includes input received from around the world. It is for listening group leaders (those who lead/facilitate the groups) and for group promoters (those who visit groups to encourage them and mentor the facilitators).

A listening group is an opportunity for people to get together to listen to a passage from the Bible and talk about it together. In this guide, you’ll find elements which focus on the ‘why’ of listening groups as well as the practical details of ‘how’ to lead a group.

WHY?
Group leaders need to know why they are doing what they are doing. What is the aim of a listening group? What kinds of group can we have? How will we know if a group is working well or not? Why are they gathering together to listen? The aim should be transformational Scripture engagement: that people encounter God’s Word in life-changing ways.

HOW?
The workshop guide includes sections on how to lead the listening time, how to manipulate the audio player and how to ask good discussion questions. It can be taught in an interactive way and participants should have plenty of opportunity during the workshop to practice participating in and leading listening groups.

An ideal time for such a workshop could be when new audio Scriptures in the local language have been recorded for a community and when audio players are available. It would work well at the launch of a listening group programme in a region, after some initial promotion work has been done to get churches involved and committed to running groups.

The guide is downloadable here in both PDF and Word formats and is published under a Creative Commons License, meaning that you can adapt it for use in your context.  [more...]

Published by: GemStone Media (2014)

"In the high mountains of Central Asia are shepherds who live a simple but rugged life. The village where they live is extremely remote and isolated from the outside world. Going there feels like you're stepping back into time. This is the first time a film has been done with this people group. All of the actors are from the local village."

This is the first film in GemStone Media's Luke 15 trilogy, which is followed by "The Lost Jewel" and soon "The Lost Sons".

To see footage from the making of The Lost Sheep, watch the video "The Lost Sheep - Behind the Scenes".

The film is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. It can be downloaded and shared freely.  [more...]

Publish early, publish small, publish often
Author: Eric Graham

"Prepare little, fill often, and expect users to engage with the content in small quantities (hopefully on frequent occasions) is the paradigm of the digital wineskin. The mode of operation for a Scripture translation project to consider becomes: Publish early, publish little and publish often – in various media formats, and for a range of digital delivery platforms."

This paper reviews features of digital publishing and associated technology that are transforming approaches to Scripture translation and publication in minority languages. Understanding and harnessing the potential of micro-content, the small units of material that make up digital media products, are key themes. The paper recommends that digital publication starts at an early stage in a translation project, making small units of Scripture available to the language community in audio and text formats as soon as each is completed and checked. It promotes the idea of incrementally publishing small units in various media formats. By gaining the attention of the audience with the small unit, there is potential for spiritual awakening that leads to an appetite for the big.  [more...]

A simple guide to begin or advance your use of mobiles
Published by: International Mission Board (2014)

The heart of ministry is relationship. While mobile devices offer capabilities in mass sharing of the Gospel, they are ultimately a great tool for effective ongoing outreach and in building relationships.

Updated edition, September 2014

If you're looking for an introduction to using mobile phones in Christian ministry - both feature phones and smartphones, the updated Mobile Ministry Made Easy handbook is a great place to start.

It takes you through the basics, pointing you in the direction of helpful resources and suggesting strategic approaches to using the mobile phone to facilitate Scripture engagement in evangelism, discipleship, leadership development and equipping new churches.

Included in the guide is: an overview of using microSD cards and Bluetooth to share Scripture content, preparing videos for mobile distribution, advice on choosing a device and accessories, and guidelines on safety and security.  [more...]

Author: Margaret Hill

Today we are in a very different position from when Bible agencies and churches first started running literacy classes. There are alternatives! We now have many methods of producing, distributing and copying oral Scriptures of many different types. In almost every case where a literacy programme is going nowhere, people will accept oral Scriptures and listen to them.

Several years ago, Margaret Hill wrote an article provocatively titled "How Literacy can Harm Scripture Use". Her thesis was that too many literacy programmes were starting with classes for beginners rather than focusing on transition literacy for the leaders and change agents in society. Such an approach, she argued, is harmful to Scripture engagement.

This article is a follow-up, emphasising the same message and going further to take into account the observation that "increasingly here in Africa we are seeing that many language groups are very interested in using their languages orally, but very uninterested in reading or writing in them".

Rather than "hitting your head against a wall" with struggling literacy programmes, the author calls for a refocusing of strategies and reminds us that audio Scriptures often work very well in such contexts.

Download the article as a PDF document.  [more...]

Listening to the translated Scriptures: a review of today’s digital audio players
Author: Richard Margetts

Third Edition - Revised for 2014

This in-depth review (46 pages) compares a range of today's digital audio players including the Proclaimer and Mini-Proclaimer (from Faith Comes By Hearing), the Envoy S and Story Teller (from MegaVoice), the Saber (from Global Recordings Network), the Papyrus (from Renew World Outreach) and the Audibible (from Davar Partners International).

The review is presented in several sections, illustrated with photos and giving a summary of the key features, prices, pros and cons of each player. Also mentioned are feature phones, smartphones and locally available MP3 players.

The first edition of the document was published in 2008 and compared the Proclaimer, MegaVoice Ambassador and Saber. In the past six years we have seen:

  1. New entrants to the digital audio player world: the Papyrus, the Audibible, the Story Teller, Mini Proclaimer, the Herald and the Shofar.
  2. Significant development of existing players: The MegaVoice Ambassadors were retired and replaced by the Envoy. A solar-powered version of the Talking Bible is available, as is a new version of the Proclaimer. More internal memory was added to the Papyrus.
  3. New battery technology: Most players now use newer Lithium Ion Polymer or Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries rather than the NiMH type.
  4. Digital file sharing: Almost gone are the days of cassette tape. In most countries of the world, people are interacting with digital media and are increasingly familiar with memory cards and MP3 files.
  5. Mobile phones: The incredible growth in mobile phone ownership and use over the past six years means that most of the world’s population now have their own personal audio player.
  6. Download the full report as a PDF document.

  [more...]
Published in Global Missiology, January 2014
Authors: T Wayne Dye, Tim Hatcher

"The worldwide spread of cell phones that can show video will enable us to bring the Scriptures into the lives of more people more effectively than ever before. Whatever the challenges, let us not miss this opportunity."

Video renditions of Bible portions are popular wherever people can even partially understand the language in which they are available. The authors of this article believe that video drama of Bible portions will quickly move from being a minor niche in Scripture distribution to a major, even central form of Scriptures for people in most language groups. They argue that because of the significant and growing influence of video Scripture portions, this medium merits much more attention than it has received in the past.

This paper focuses on the prospect for video to address a number of challenges to understanding typically addressed by paratextual elements. Video forms of key passages provide essential supplements. Short videos of selected Scripture passages can provide extensive background information more efficiently and often more effectively than traditional paratextual delivery systems. The potential for video to provide necessary historical and cultural context can be better realized through cooperation between exegetes, artists, and Scripture engagement personnel. Together, they can identify which Scripture passages could benefit most from video supplementation in particular cultural groupings.

Download the full paper as a PDF document.  [more...]