This is an article from the May-June 2014 issue of Mission Frontiers.
The 7,000 distinct unreached people groups of the world reflect the incredible complexity, diversity, and greatness of our God. One media form will not reach them all. As we pursue the task of world evangelization, we must identify major priorities, ideally combining orality and indigenous media that will ensure that all the peoples of the world will have the opportunity to hear and see the gospel.
The Essential Role of Indigenous Media
Media especially accommodates the 70% of the unreached who are pre-literate and serves all who prefer “oral-visual” means of communication. From the interest stirred by new mobile technologies to the heart response generated by messages communicated through traditional art forms, the Spiritled use of media to impact individuals and nations is an enormous factor in the effectiveness of fulfilling Jesus’s mandate to share His gospel with all peoples.
A strategy, message, and tool unique for each people group results in heart understanding and transformation.
A strategy, message, and tool unique for each people group results in heart understanding and transformation. Greater contextualization of the gospel message leads to lasting fruit as the community embraces the message within their cultural context.
With Internet, mobile devices, and social networking usage exploding across the unreached world, we have an ideal platform for transmitting tailormade indigenous audio-visual media to communicate the gospel. Through these inexpensive, dynamic distribution channels, mass media communications is no longer limited to traditional “broadcast” strategies. We live in a new age where “narrowcast” media can be transmitted to millions of people for very little cost.
Applying the Strategy
Create International is committed to using all of these strategies and technologies to their fullest potential.
Launched from the campus of the U.S. Center for World Mission in 1988, Create International emerged from a time in recent mission history where great surges of innovative strategies were being initiated around the world. A ground swell of passion sparked a vision to reach the unreached peoples “by all possible means.” From this context, the ministry of Create International grew to seven teams, in five countries, on three continents. “Declare God’s glory among the unreached peoples utilizing audio-visuals,” is the mandate of this ministry. After 25 years of proving God’s faithfulness in some of the most spiritually dark places on earth, over 65 unreached megapeople groups now have multiple “tailormade” gospel media resources. For many of these groups, these are the first audiovisual presentations on the greatest story ever told in their heart language and culture!
Create International’s audiovisual productions traverse genres of film, animated art, cartooning and animation in partnership with numerous agencies and initiatives. Our animators and artists produce contextual artwork to assist orality teams and audio storying sets being developed for unreached peoples.
Our teams partner with field workers who already have built relationships among the peoples where they are serving. Oftentimes, actors are believers who want to help reach their own people, but other times, God leads us to people who just want to act in a film. Repeatedly, we have seen nonbelieving actors give their lives to Christ through exposure to the gospel as they act out the drama and memorize Scripture.
Repeatedly, we have seen nonbelieving actors give their lives to Christ through exposure to the gospel as they act out the drama and memorize Scripture.
The salvation message is woven naturally into a drama of conflict and resolution. Great care is taken to ensure biblical, cultural, and linguistic accuracy in all of our evangelistic presentations.
In addition to our evangelistic audio-visuals, our unique “Contextual Gathering” series of videos has proven to be an effective follow up tool for new believers or seekers to learn about church or small group meetings within their own cultural context. Models are visualized for starting family gatherings, then inviting neighborhood friends for home fellowship, prayer and study of the Word responding to seekers’ questions, and eventually raising up other leaders.
The response to these contextual fellowship videos has been dramatic! The local actors, themselves believers from a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist background, told us that these films would also be very effective for evangelism. This is confirmed by testimony after testimony of people who have given their lives to the Lord after viewing these presentations; a new believer was viewing the contextual worship video with his wife who was not yet a believer. After the presentation, his wife exclaimed, “If that is what you have been talking about, then yes, I am interested. I could worship Jesus like that!” —Field worker in Indonesia 2010
Free downloads of our films are available at www.Indigitube.tv.
People Embrace the Gospel As Their Own
The evidence of effective media is souls entering the kingdom of God, unreached people discipled in Christ, churches planted and communities transformed:
As a result of distributing over 4 million copies of the Mandarin evangelistic and discipleship film, we were told that 10,000 new churches were established. “Among the Tujia of Southern China, the local people themselves raised the funds and duplicated over 100,000 copies of the evangelistic film to reach their own people.”
—IMB field worker 2009
Among the Tujia of Southern China, the local people themselves raised the funds and duplicated over 100,000 copies of the evangelistic film to reach their own people.
“After viewing Create International’s film Transformation—tailormade for the 20 million Banjara people in India—my workers reported over 10,000 Banjara made commitments to Christ, and at least 500 new churches were started. These statistics were gathered just after the first few years of the movie release. Create International has made a significant contribution to our ministry and millions of people have come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
—Rev. Dr. Lazarus Lasingh, Ministry Director
Engaging with the Whole Body of Christ
Rolled out initially at the Tokyo 2010 Global Mission Consultation, the “20/20 Vision” is an initiative of Create International to produce and distribute an indigenous evangelistic audiovisual tool for every one of the Least Evangelized Mega Peoples (LEMP) by the year 2020. With the LEMP list covering 75% of the total population of all unreached peoples, media practitioners, churches and ministries are challenged to make these people groups a priority for engagement and production. Partner with us to create new indigenous media that shares the gospel in a clear contextual way—so that all can see and understand the message and embrace it as their own.
As it is written, “Those who were not told about Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” (Rom. 15:2021)
Calvin and Carol Conkey are the Founders and International Coordinators of Create International, a global ministry of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) focused on producing effective media resources for unreached people groups. Since 1979 they have served as full-time media missionaries, producing hundreds of audio-visual resources and ministering in over 50 nations. They serve on several YWAM leadership teams, including the University of the Nations College of Communication, International Frontier Missions, and Contextual Resources, as well as coordinate the Global Media Network with the Call2All campaigns.