In 2011, GNPI created The Global Gospel (TGG), a set of 107 visual stories based on the life and teachings of Jesus. Featuring three hours worth of content, TGG is a harmony of the gospel stories prepared in a simple video format with a series of application questions that go along with each episode. It’s been translated into nearly 40 languages, and our translation teams are working hard to make it available in three more languages this year.
One of our production partners in Cyprus suggested reworking TGG as a children’s program for broadcast television, and we thought it was a brilliant idea. This partner says, “I’ve always had a heart for the younger generation. Sunday school is good, but kids in the Middle East don’t know much about Jesus. They may know stories of the Bible, and that’s it. Lots of adults have doubts because they’ve never seen God’s word from beginning to end. Other programs teach lessons on being nice and kind. We wanted to help young people focus on why Jesus said what he did and what he meant when he said it. We wanted it to be biblical and creative.”
GNPI worked with a studio in the Middle East to develop a kids version of TGG, called Jesus Story. We recorded the audio in several languages spoken in the Middle East and North Africa, then redesigned the visual components to fit into 13, half-hour episodes formatted for television.
SAT-7 Kids agreed to broadcast the series in their prime time children’s slot, beginning in 2017. Meanwhile, GNPI connected with some of our ministry partners in the Middle East to develop a social media follow-up strategy that would coincide with the broadcast. We put together a digital advertising campaign on Facebook leading up to the debut of the program and used social media to interact with viewers during and immediately after the episodes.
The Arabic version of Jesus Story began airing in December 2017 on SAT-7 KIDS to nearly five million children from the ages of 6-13! The release date was close to the 10-year anniversary of the station, so the timing was perfect. Viewers tuned in from every country in the region, with the largest audiences in Egypt, Syria, Morocco, and Yemen.
Viewers continued to engage with the programs as we posted short video clips from the previous episodes on social media each week. These posts asked questions, drew attention to episode content, and invited viewers to share their observations. All of this contributed to a highly engaging online experience for those who viewed the programs, and it gave them opportunities to explore their questions about Jesus.
Our production partner says one of his favorite moments of Jesus Story is when the mothers share their children’s answers to the question at the end of each episode because it shows the kids were listening, understanding, and engaging. “It’s very important to have a project like this nowadays. Unfortunately, lots of churches and ministries are more concerned about social aspects and not the Bible. It’s almost the opposite of what others are doing, to reveal God’s word to young people. It will change lives.”
A SAT-7 program director says the project is the most biblically-based content he’s ever aired. Additional production has moved quickly, and Jesus Story is now available in Farsi and will soon be released in Turkish. We’re making plans to release Norwegian and Swahili versions later this year.
Since we’ve seen this tool used successfully for strategic evangelism, we’re working quickly to translate Jesus Story into more languages. We need our partners to help us. You can contribute to this project by making a donation today and joining with us as we share the good news about Jesus with Muslim families around the world.