It can be challenging for people to imagine being a follower of Jesus. That’s why we make sure that the art, music, and language feel local.
TWR MOTION, a ministry of Trans World Radio, makes videos that are used online to share the love of Jesus with people who have faith questions. Their specific mission is to “create custom, gospel-centered videos for missionaries and local believers to use as they make disciples in places with limited gospel resources.” The goal is to make first-class, affordable videos for teams using media to connect with spiritually open people. One of their focuses is on creating videos to reach the Arab world in a culturally relevant way using Facebook and YouTube platforms.
YouTube is where people go worldwide to search for answers to their “how-to” questions in a video format where they can both see and hear someone give step-by-step instructions. People are searching 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 those seekers there — online — with the truth of the gospel. This makes media a powerful point of intersection because we know the person on the other end of the connection is open to gospel conversations. And video is a fundamental part 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 series of animated Bible stories, each week. She wrote to the team:
I am waiting for your episode tonight. I am hoping to see the truth. Right now, I am afraid of God, and I can’t control these feelings. I am very afraid that I am on the wrong path.
My problem isn’t in 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 issue is what I should believe now. Should I be a Christian and believe in the crucifixion and be persuaded completely to be a Christian? Or should I be a Muslim and be fully persuaded before it’s too late?
Before me are two paths; which one is true?
It can be challenging for people to imagine being a follower of Jesus. That’s why we produce videos that enable people to do just that. We do this by ensuring 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 is so ingrained in most cultures that you cannot imagine ever being anything different. And if you become something different, you wouldn't be you. Well, that's not true of the gospel.”
People around the world are wrestling with their faith. Let’s put the gospel on their screens.
[photo_footer] 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 animated Bible stories. Several years ago, a church planting team in the Arab world invited TWR to create an animated video series of Bible stories to engage with people online. Each of the 20 episodes focuses on a specific story from the Bible. The series called Share the Story starts with creation and ends with the resurrection of Jesus. Together, they build a picture of God’s grand story of redemption.
With the partnering team living in the Arabic culture, they can effectively guide the creative process by influencing the look and feel of the Share the Story animations. For example, one of the ways to make the videos culturally appropriate was using silhouettes instead of showing faces, which would be offensive in a Muslim context.
Each video also ends with discovery Bible questions church planters can use to begin engaging seekers with what they saw in the video.
A viewer in the Middle East, who 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 been using Share the Story with refugees. One of the men the team followed up with shared: “I watched all the [Share the Story] videos, what do I need to do? I’m fully convinced this is the truth. I’ve been praying to Jesus ever since.” He told his friend about what he learned. The two men put their faith in Jesus and were baptized in 2020.
After watching the creation episode of Share the Story, one Russian viewer said, “Thank you for the video! I did not know that there are such interesting stories in the Holy 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 more languages, including Moroccan Arabic, Malaysian, Urdu, and Yazidi Shingali. There is also an English version intended for those who speak English as a second language.
People are online. Let’s connect them with Jesus.
Becky C. Matthews has served as a volunteer writer and editor for TWR Europe and CAMENA since 2013.