Mike Schrage, Executive Director
Our ministry partners have built a network of production partners armed with a passion to accelerate global evangelism through media and technology.
Four years ago, key GNPI leaders met in Manila and asked God to open doors for GNPI into Central and South America and China. We asked God for breakthroughs into the religions of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. We also wanted to explore the world of smartphone apps.
Last month, we gathered again, this time in Damoh, India. There were 25 of us, which included our regional directors and their next generation of leaders as well as several of us from Joplin along with Barb Sachtleben and Chris DeWelt from the GNPI board of directors. We met for a time of reporting, prayer, fellowship, and to measure how successful we had been since our last meeting in Manila. It was really exciting!
The regional directors shared numerous and specific stories of influence, impact, and fruitfulness. Breakthroughs in disciples being made, churches started, and seeds sown became apparent. I wish you could have been there to have some curry and chai and hear the news first hand!
More than one hundred new Nomad candidates were screened last year alone! Key media training events were held in Indonesia (the country with the largest population of Muslims in the world), as well as China (the most populous country in the world), Ghana, Togo, and a few other places.
Plans are underway for more Nomad teams in Mexico and Central America. At last year’s Nicaragua gathering that Tom Nutt and Bob Gurwell organized, crucial groundwork was laid for outreach into four Central American countries, Chile, and Mexico. Last month on February 17 we held a one year anniversary video conference call.
It was thrilling to hear how the seeds of media ministry planted the previous year have exploded! They are addressing social issues like anorexia and human trafficking, as well as church planting needs and making the Scriptures available to the deaf. These were just some of the projects mentioned, and they are only a few of the breakthroughs we had prayed for in that area of the world!
A few short years ago, The Global Gospel (TGG) was a dream. Today, it’s in a newly improved version with 27 languages and another 11 to be completed this year. Recently, Free Bible Images, one of the top websites in the world, asked if they could use the TGG images on their web site. Their end of the year report stated:
“In 2016 we had 48,674 sets of GNPI images downloaded in Powerpoint, PDF, or Keynote formats for teaching. On the conservative estimate that each set was used to teach between 5 and 10 people we estimate that between a quarter of a million to half a million people were taught Bible passages using the GNPI images around the world.
Users on our site can also view any set of GNPI stories in our StoryView that runs a slideshow of the images with the Bible text from the Net Bible. We had 214,987 GNPI stories read online in StoryView in 2016 and we expect this figure to keep rising. These views and downloads took place in 160 different countries.”
TGG is useful globally, but could just as easily be used here to help the construction foreman, the IT specialist, the restaurant owner, or the refugee here in the U.S. Your gifts and prayers put these resources just clicks away from online seekers.
In January we had the opportunity to personally deliver, through a friend of GNPI, 500 thumbdrives with all kinds of GNPI materials to 500 Chinese house church pastors including The Global Gospel. They were distributed secretly as they strategically met in a neighboring country. Thousands will see and hundreds will copy and share with thousands more, and so goes the media – missionary cycle!
In the specific case of The Global Gospel, a GNPI sponsor paid for the original TGG template, another GNPI sponsor paid for the language recording, and yet another GNPI sponsor paid for the duplication and delivery. It required true teamwork to achieve such a breakthrough, and it happened!
Speaking of all things digital, you can download our new tool, The GNPI App, right now to learn more. With the app you have in your hand, free of charge, tools like The Global Gospel which are readily accessible for your next visit with an international student, refugee, or mission trip. The app is also a great tool to use as you are sharing with others what GNPI is all about.
What breakthroughs are we anticipating?
A serialization of The Global Gospel in Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu for television and social media use is being produced in Cypress by one of our new partners for Muslim and Hindu children.
The development of regional Nomad trainers like our first one, Timothy Jai Kumar, in South India, is the wave of the future for our ever-expanding Project Nomad. Nomad teams are growing the footprint of GNPI with next-generation media disciples. This underscores our core belief that nationals know best and are the most suitable to train and mentor others in their cultures to produce relevant media.
We have a growing relationship with YouVersion, the number one Bible app in the world, as a content provider. In just 18 months, we have submitted Bible study plans in several languages with 21,000 plan completions. YouVersion is so impressed with the quality of GNPI material and audience connections that they are exploring new content options with GNPI in addition to the plans we currently have that feature The Global Gospel.
Let’s listen now to Jessica Pennick, YouVersion Content Partnership Manager, as she shares her perspective on our collaboration.
Meanwhile, new countries like Indonesia, China, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Tanzania all had citizens receive Level 1 Nomad video production training last year. Now, not only will we shepherd and coach these new partners with additional training, we plan to train new media disciples in Egypt and Outer Mongolia in 2017. This is our flock, our church if you will, of media disciples spread out globally and trained strategically.
We will intentionally partner with church planting networks in Indonesia, the Philippines, Kenya, Mexico, and SE Asia to help their workers know how to use media to help seekers to become followers as they increase their fruitfulness in disciple making.
Our regional director in SE Asia is a recognized leader in understanding the Buddhist worldview and contextually leading them to Christ, the one true Buddha! This brother has been effective in leading monks to Christ and has a national vision for culturally specific training to equip 14 key leaders in each of the 14 states in his country as evangelists. We call it “The Timothy Project.” Each leader will eventually have his own Nomad team for outreach – talk about a potential breakthrough for an entire country where the major religion is Buddhism!
Finally, one of the most highly researched and complex projects ever undertaken by GNPI is beginning to develop in Indonesia. Remember, I started the evening stating that we asked the Lord for breakthroughs in the Islamic world? Well, they are happening!
Last year I mentioned a former missionary, friend, and colleague, Shawn Tyler, had written 10 stories for children. Well, due to additional research that number has been increased to 20. The twist in the storytelling is that they are told from a first-person perspective of someone who actually encountered God or Jesus and their mighty acts as described in the Bible. Then decades later they are telling their children and grandchildren about these events as bedtime stories!
This is a “new angle” on an old story, and therefore, the name New Angle Media Project.
The New Angle Media Project implements the most comprehensive media strategy using research, social media, video production, and personal follow-up ever. The goal is to identify Muslim parents who are seekers and lead them to become disciples along with their children. This is being developed, tested, and launched in the most populous Muslim country in the world!
We believe if we can get our strategy to work in that difficult country, it can be replicated to work anywhere in the world for GNPI. It is a “template strategy” similar to our development of The Global Gospel. Several groups and several of our teams are anxiously awaiting the results! This vision will continue to grow and change, but the impact could affect millions in a country where missionaries, especially American missionaries, are not welcome!
I’d like to close with this two-part story. Manee (who spoke at our very first Vision Night events three years ago) caught the vision of making media disciples through Nomad training, so he and his team traveled 50 hours by train to the very northern tip of India to train two groups on how to produce relevant media for their church’s needs.
They went during their holiday break and used some of their own money for the trip. They birthed not one, but two emerging Nomad teams in an area few Americans will ever reach. Productions have been made and lives have been changed.
Isaac shared how their team, along with their full production responsibilities during the week, volunteered to reach out to a marginalized, forgotten people group known as the Endorois. The Endorois people are only 300,000 in number and forgotten by many, but not by GNPI.
That’s the sacrifice exemplified by our teams; the determination they have for breakthroughs that will take the Good News to places we will never go.