Putting the gospel on their screens, Evangelical Focus

TWR MOTION, a ministry of Trans World Radio, produces videos that are used online to share the love of Jesus with people who have questions about faith. Their specific mission is to “create personalized gospel-centered videos that missionaries and local believers can use when making disciples in places where gospel resources are limited.” The goal is to do first class affordable videos for teams using media to connect with spiritually open people. One of their goals is to create videos to reach the Arab world in a culturally relevant way using the Facebook and YouTube platforms.

Youtube is where people all over the world go to seek answers to their practical questions in a video format where they can both see and hear someone giving step-by-step instructions. People search for all kinds of things online, including answers to some of life’s biggest questions, like “Who is Jesus?” or “Is the Bible true?” Missionaries and local believers can meet these seekers there – online – with the truth of the gospel. This makes the media a powerful intersection point because we know the person on the other end of the connection is open to gospel conversations. And video is a fundamental element of this approach.

A woman in North Africa followed on Facebook as the Church Planting Team released a new episode of Share the story, TWR MOTION’s animated Bible story series, every week. She writes to the team:

I look forward to your episode tonight. I hope to see the truth. Right now I’m afraid of God and I can’t control these feelings. I am very afraid of being on the wrong track.

My problem is not knowing the stories of the prophets who came before the prophet Jesus – not at all. I know them well. And I believe in them.

My question is what should I believe now. Do I have to be a Christian and believe in the crucifixion and be completely persuaded to be a Christian? Or should I be a Muslim and be fully convinced before it’s too late?

Before me are two paths; which one is true?

It can be difficult for people to imagine being a follower of Jesus. That’s why we produce videos that empower people to do just that. We do this by ensuring that the art, music and language feel local.

“To be Turkish is to be Muslim, to be Cambodian is to be Buddhist, to be this is to be that” shares Tom Khazoyan, who teaches a course on using media in church planting. “And it’s so ingrained in most cultures that you can’t imagine being anything different. And if you became something different, you wouldn’t be you. Well that’s not true of the gospel.”

People all over the world are struggling with their faith. Let’s put the gospel on their screens.

  The theme throughout the series is showing God’s great story of redemption. / TWR MOTION.

 

Share the story was created to share the gospel through lively Bible stories. Several years ago, a church planting team in the Arab world invited TWR to create a bible story animated video series to interact with people online. Each of 20 episodes focuses on a specific Bible story. The series titled Share the story begins with the creation and ends with the resurrection of Jesus. Together they construct a picture of God’s great redemption story.

With the partner team living in the Arab culture, they can effectively guide the creative process by influencing the look and feel of the Share the story entertainment. For example, one of the ways to make videos culturally appropriate was use silhouettes instead of showing faceswhich would be offensive in a Muslim context.

Each video also ends with discovery Bible questions that church planters can use to begin engaging seekers with what they have seen in the video.

A spectator in the Middle Eastwho watched an animated Bible series we created, shared, “I can’t believe these videos answered all my questions.”

Our church planting partners in the Middle East have used Share the story with refugees. One of the men the team followed shared, “I watched all the [Share the Story] videos, what should I do? I am fully convinced that this is the truth. Since then, I pray to Jesus. He told his friend what he had learned. Both men put their faith in Jesus and were baptized in 2020.

After watching the creation episode of Share the story, a Russian viewer said, “Thank you for the video! I didn’t know there were such interesting stories in the scriptures about Abraham and the creation of the first people! I never thought about who was created by Allah first.

Share the story is now in six languages: Modern Standard Arabic, Flemish, Central Asian Russian, French, Tunisian Arabic and Jordanian Arabic. TWR MOTION is coordinating with 11 teams to add 11 additional languages, including Moroccan Arabic, Malaysian, Urdu and Yazidi Shingali. There is also an English version for those who speak English as a second language.

People are online. Connect them to Jesus.

Becky C. Matthews has been a volunteer writer and editor for TWR Europe and CAMENA since 2013.

Barry F. Howard