Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Incredible Power of the Jesus Film

The most recent issue of Mission Frontiers, the publication of the US Center for World Missions, included an article on the amazing effects of the Jesus Film, which I reproduce below. The entire issue was great; I was especially fascinated by Ralph Winters article on "The Future of Evangelicals in Mission." Follow the links and you will not be disappointed.

By Rick Wood

In the history of the modern mission movement,few organizations have succeeded as brilliantly
as The Jesus Film Project. Started in 1980 as an evangelistic effort of Campus Crusade for
Christ using a recently released film called the Jesus Film, which chronicles the life of Christ from the Gospel of Luke, its efforts have gone from simply amazing to astounding and earth shaking.

For at least a decade or two it has remained the most translated and viewed film in the history of film making. When we featured the Jesus Film and its mind boggling goals in the November-December 1997 issue of Mission Frontiers, they had translated the film into 419 languages and had exposed the film to over one billion people. Now as of the end of June 2007, they have translated the film into over 1,000 languages and achieved the incredible
milestone of exposing over 6.2 billion to the film with some having seen it more than once. The one million speakers of the Lanka Kol language of India are the recipients of the 1000th translation of the Jesus Film.

Even more significant is that over 201 million people have committed their lives to Christ as a result of viewing this film and hundreds of thousands of
new churches have been established...

Steve Steele, formerly of the DAWN Movement which promotes church planting has said, “Of the 1 million churches started in the last decade (1992-2002) 75 percent used the Jesus Even more significant is that over 201 million people have committed their lives to Christ as a result of viewing this film and hundreds of thousands of new churches have been established...

It took 17 years from 1980 to 1997 for the Jesus Film Project to reach 419 translations and one billion viewers. In just the last 10 years they have completed over 581 more translations and reached an additional five billion viewers. This is just the beginning of their plans to plant churches and expose as many as possible to the life saving message of the gospel of Christ.

In terms of translations, their ultimate goal is to translate the film into the heart language of every person. But their intermediate goal is to translate the Jesus Film into every language with over 100,000 speakers. Th ere are currently around 1,500 such languages, so the Jesus Film is two-thirds of the way towards that goal. With a new translation completed almost once a week, they should reach this goal within the next 10 years.

The accomplishments of the Jesus Film Project are not theirs alone. They would be the first to admit that. Their success has been largely due to the strategic partnerships that the Jesus Film Project has built with hundreds of mission and church organizations around the world. Currently they have active partnerships with 1,500 organizations that are using the Jesus Film
in their evangelism and church planting efforts. The film is shown to people around the world in some of the most remote locations by thousands of teams of missionaries and volunteers. The success of the Jesus Film is really the success of the global church in coming together to use an effective media tool.

...As the Jesus Film approaches the end of its third decade of ministry, its leaders recognize that they need to adapt the film to the needs of an increasingly sophisticated media audience,
especially in Western countries. The younger generation of 15-25 year olds will likely need new versions of the film in order to communicate the message of the gospel to them in a meaningful
way. This will involve the creation of completely new films in order to reach this and following generations of young people. The focus is not on the Jesus Film itself. It is merely a tool. The focus is the development and distribution of the most effective media tools to communicate the gospel to various types of audiences. One size or tool does not fit all.

...The Jesus Film Project is always looking for new ways to convey the message of the Jesus Film and the gospel. Currently, the Jesus Film is available to view online in any of 800 different
languages. You can also download segments of the film onto your iPod for on-the-go viewing. As technology and the mission of the Church around the world advances, you can be assured that the Jesus Film Project will be actively involved in helping to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to every tribe and tongue.

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