Using Media

Communicating effectively to non-readers
Author: Rick Brown
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (21.4 Winter 2004)

In seeking to free ourselves from the biases of a print-oriented culture, we need to consider, not only the kinds of media and discourse genre (e.g. narrative) that are most appropriate for oral cultures, but also the most effective ways to use those genres and media. What do non-readers like to see and hear? What do they enjoy listening to? Their choices will not necessarily be the same as those of print communicators. If the styles of presentation are ones which oral communicators prefer, then they will be more likely to listen, to understand, and to remember what they hear.

In this paper, Rick Brown argues that oral cultures have their own preferences for ways to communicate truth, and that these are often different from what print-oriented people prefer. In order to share the message most effectively, we need to find out what media and methods work best for them. In most cases this will include a multi-media approach with an emphasis on memorizing the Scriptures with the aid of high-quality recordings from skilled actors or voicers.  [more...]

Re-mastered in high-definition with a new musical score
Published by: JESUS Film Project, 2014

After 35 years, billions of viewings, 1,200 language translations and countless numbers of transformed lives, the classic JESUS Film taken directly from the book of Luke has been re-mastered in high-definition with a new musical score in Dolby 5.1 surround sound and special bonus features.

Available on DVD and Blu-ray from April 1, 2014. Languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin, French, Vietnamese, German, Korean and Arabic.

From the press release:

"While many have seen the original JESUS film, watching the 35th anniversary, re-mastered edition is akin to experiencing a brand new movie," said Dr. Erick Schenkel, Executive Director of The JESUS Film Project, a ministry of Cru. "During the film’s restoration, each of its 173,000 frames were individually and painstakingly re-touched and re-colored, and the entire audio track was re-done with dialogue, sound effects and new music."  [more...]

Author: Konkomba team

"There is no question upon hearing the cassettes that Jesus speaks their language, that he understands Konkomba, hears their prayers, and is not a stranger among them."

Faith Comes By Hearing is a program where groups meet regularly to listen to the whole audio New Testament and discuss what they hear. This report (from 2002) outlines its benefits among the Konkomba people: decreasing syncretism; knowing Scriptures; hearing Scripture in the mother tongue; revealing the distrust by non-readers for anyone reading aloud; showing that Christianity and Jesus are not foreigners; removing the dividing wall created by literacy; church planting and evangelism; and signs and wonders.  [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...]