GNPI is breathing new life into a classic evangelistic resource through a project we call The Global Gospel. In the 1970s, Don DeWelt commissioned an artist named Paula Giltner to create the artwork for The Pictorial Life of Christ — a full-color, illustrated depiction of the stories contained in the four gospels. The project took several years to complete and was eventually published by College Press. These detailed illustrations, paired with harmonized accounts of the gospel, gave readers a powerful, visual presentation of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
While The Pictorial Life of Christ was a remarkable project by itself, the team at GNPI believed it had further potential. In 2010, we began turning Paula Giltner’s vivid illustrations into a visual storybook composed of 107 short video episodes, complete with narration of the gospel texts.
We finished production on the first set of DVDs, narrated in English, in 2011 and realized that the format could be easily translated into other languages. This could be a tool for strategic evangelism used by disciple-makers all over the world. To make this possible, we’d need help from our global network of missionaries and church partners.
When we talked to them about this project, and our ministry partners were excited to jump on board. Hundreds of people contributed by narrating, recording, mastering, and duplicating the stories in dozens of languages. They also wrote questions for discussion and application for each story, and helped distribute The Global Gospel in the nations where they lived.
Getting The Global Gospel translated into other languages was an important step toward making it accessible to a worldwide audience. But there was more. We’re always thinking about strategic evangelism - discovering the most effective means for preaching the gospel in every culture and to every worldview. So, we began brainstorming about creative ways to contextualize The Global Gospel for more people in more places.
The short length of each gospel story allows them to be shared easily on multiple devices and platforms. Any device that can play MP4 files and has the ability to accept and share files via Bluetooth, WiFi, or an SD card can be used to view The Global Gospel. GNPI and our ministry partners began distributing videos through YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
Missionaries all over the world began sharing these videos on social media and using them for sermon illustrations and Bible lessons. They had huge potential in teaching contexts, especially in non-literate cultures. Christians working in closed countries also began using The Global Gospel videos as discussion starters on social media platforms to identify people who were curious about Jesus.
Then, doors opened for The Global Gospel to join YouVersion, the world’s most popular Bible app. Through YouVersion, people all over the world now have access to The Global Gospel’s illustrated stories through their mobile devices and can hear or read those stories in their own languages. To date, more than 380,000 users have downloaded The Global Gospel images and over 44,000 have completed one of the accompanying reading plans. Through the YouVersion app, The Global Gospel has reached people in 190 different countries.
In addition to social media and mobile platforms, we’re always learning about new ways The Global Gospel is being used. One partner in north Africa has taken the Arabic translation of these stories and woven them into a series of videos broadcast over SAT-7 KIDS. Muslim children are hearing and seeing the story of Jesus for the first time, in a language they understand, paired with vibrant illustrations. We also regularly hear from different regions of the world where internet and satellite radio stations are broadcasting the audio recordings of The Global Gospel in local languages to people who’ve never heard the good news.
Solar Kits - another tool GNPI uses for strategic evangelism - have also been an effective medium for sharing The Global Gospel. These solar-powered projectors are used by missionaries in places where electricity is scarce. Most of the people living in these areas are non-literate or prefer to learn orally. The Global Gospel is a way for us to share the good news with them through a medium that is meaningful and relevant.
Statistics tell us that the vast majority of The Global Gospel videos are being viewed on mobile platforms. Whether they’re distributed on a mobile device, computer, tablet, or Solar Kit, we’re thrilled that the Word of God is being preached all over the world. From remote villages to urban coffee shops to living room sofas - The Global Gospel has become a valuable resource for missionaries and church workers in a wide variety of cultures and settings.
The impact of The Global Gospel has been monumental, but there’s more potential for growth. Our ultimate goal is to make this series available in every language in the world. But a good starting point is to translate the text and audio into the top 25 languages spoken today. By targeting these language groups, we can reach an audience of 3.6 billion people . . . half the world’s population!
For example, Portuguese is one of the world's most widely spoken languages, and it’s spoken by approximately 229 million people in nine countries, as well as in the Chinese territory of Macau. That means translating The Global Gospel into Portuguese - just one language - would make it possible for an additional 229 million people to hear the story of Jesus in their own language.
Another key to future growth is developing mobile apps for distributing The Global Gospel. Even in third world countries where other technology is underdeveloped, smartphones are prolific. Through mobile apps, we can put The Global Gospel into the hands of smartphone users worldwide and connect them to our ministry partners.
It takes an average investment of $7,000 and six months to produce each language of The Global Gospel. We have 31 languages and counting. Help us reach more language groups in the world through The Global Gospel.
Whether or not you’re able to join us as a financial contributor, we’d love for you to benefit from our work on The Global Gospel. Check out the links below to view these resources in different languages and feel free to download or share them:
African French, Arabic-Ketab El Hayat, Arabic-Smith/VanDyke, Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali, Bosnian, Burmese, Cantonese, Crimean Tatar, English, Farsi, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Luganda, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Min Nan, Nepali, Punjabi, Russian, Sindhi, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish, Thai, Ukrainian, and Urdu.
Please help us! GNPI received an urgent request to produce this tool for outreach to 14 million people in Somalia and an additional one million Somalis who have fled their homeland. We’ve been asked to create it multiple times in the last few years by multiple ministries. GNPI is partnering with another missions organization, three churches, and two Christian workers who can’t be named due to security concerns, to complete this project in the Somali language.
Regional Director Isaac Masiga of GNPI-Kenya will oversee the project. He and his team estimate a completion in December 2019. They plan to distribute these resources through thumb drives and by providing online access to the TGG episodes. The cost to produce each new language is approximately $7,000.
The Global Gospel (TGG) has been completed in 32 languages so far, with several others in various stages of the production process. It recently reached a milestone on YouTube of one million completed views. The average length of each of the 107 stories is three minutes; that means, at a minimum, people around the world have seen three million minutes of pure, visualized narrative about the life of Jesus Christ. The Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish versions of TGG have been used in another GNPI production called Jesus Story, which is a 13-part television series for families in the Middle East and North Africa region. An estimated five million children have watched Jesus Story via local satellite broadcast. It was so successful that it is being rebroadcast with an intentional social media follow-up strategy.