When no missionary or evangelist is available to share the Gospel with people, they can still hear the Gospel message. Technology is a wonderful thing. It has allowed for the Gospel to be spread further and faster than if people had to physically walk to an area to share the Gospel. Radio evangelism, internet evangelism, satellite TV evangelism, the Jesus Film, and DVD distribution are some of the major players in this category. At this table, there's another seat reserved for audio devices. These devices can be Talking Bibles or have messages, sermons, teaching, etc. These have been around for a long time, but they used to be cassette or CD format. Today, we can pack 100s of hours of audio tracks onto SD cards that fit into these audio devices. I was doing some research into this area of missions and came across a nice list of advantages of these devices. I want to share it with you. It comes from Global Recording Network, a wonderful ministry:
Audio and audio-visual formats will not always be the most effective communications. E.g. A live communicator may be able to better embody or live out the message proclaimed. (He may also undermine it!) However, it is worth noting some of the advantages of audio and audio-visual presentations.
- Being recorded creates a more 'permanent' record to guard against modification of the story
- The media is not dependent on the presence or the 'endurance' of a live speaker.
- The message can be repeated as frequently as desired
- The media is accessible to anyone who can hear. They do not need to be able to read.
- Pictures (in various formats) can help understanding as well as increase the appeal of the presentation.
- The media can be used without the presence of the messenger, which can sometimes adversely affect the process (e.g. some cultures do not allow a public disagreement with a guest so the locals 'agree' with the message not out of conviction but out of politeness.)
- The material can be used discreetly in sensitive locations.
- The material can be used at loud volume to enable a community to hear and process the information together.
- The materials are adaptable. Once a 'user' has become familiar with the presentation they can use it in different ways to suit different audiences or contexts.
- In some places a recorded message carries an authority not given to a 'live' speaker.
There are also weaknesses of audio and audio-visual communication, such as limited interactivity and limited ability to respond flexibly to different situations, but the advantages should not be ignored.
If you want to see a review of devices that can be helpful to mission work, take a look at this in depth review. If you want a quick comparison, scroll down to Section 5.