Project for 2013-14 school year:
The Christian Mobile-Phone Project
Culminating Conference was held on March 21-23, 2014
Link to the Conference Agenda
Project Goal: student teams from seven schools devised strategies for Christian outreach via mobile technology (cell phones, feature phones, smartphones), and if appropriate, produced audience-appropriate media carrying messages of the Christian Gospel that can be heard or viewed by vast numbers of people on their phones in a variety of countries around the world. While research results and media productions are the tangible goals of the project, its underlying purpose was to inspire a large number of young Christian people with a first-hand experience in mission outreach via media.
Aspects of the project (some conducted simultaneously):
1. Host a smartphone technology workshop (October 24-25 2013):
In an effort to understand the cutting edge of the technology used to make Christian messages available on vast numbers of mobile phones in many parts of the world, we hosted a day-and-a-half gathering consisting of the following participants:
- experts to teach us 1) the importance of an understanding of the cultures in which we wish to send Christian messages, and the means by which that understanding can be gained; 2) what technology and processes are required to get messages onto vast numbers of phones in various parts of the world, and how best to format messages so that they can appear on mobile phones.
- A few technology-friendly student representatives from each participating school, with their advisers
- Interested persons from school and church technology staffs
- About 55 people attended this workshop at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee.
2. Engage mission worker mentor/consultants:
We found mission workers in a number of overseas countries, who were willing to serve as mentor/consultants to the student teams during the project school year. Eight countries in which there are churches of our fellowship participated.
3. Invite schools to create research and production teams:
Seven schools (colleges and high schools) created research and production teams of students, under a faculty adviser. Their tasks included these steps:
- Select a country in which their final production(s) could be made available.
- The team was put in touch with the mission worker mentor/consultant in that country.
- The team researched the country, with the guidance of the mentor/consultant, in regard to all aspects of the country relating to message effectiveness in that location, including its demographics, geography, history, culture (especially music, art, stories/legends), languages, attitudes toward religion (especially Christianity), and the like. Special attention was given to whatever peculiarities might exist in regard to getting Christian messages onto mobile phones in that country. This research aspect was a vital part of the project: it brings multiple academic disciplines to bear on the task of communicating a Gospel message, and builds valuable groundwork for future media outreach in chosen countries.
- Drawing on their research, the team devised strategies for Gospel outreach via mobile devices, and if appropriate, produced media that proclaims the Gospel that could be used on phones in their chosen country.
4. Host a culminating “Mobile Phone Gospel Outreach Conference” (March 21-23, 2014):
The production teams from participating schools gathered, met one another, and displayed their work, that is, their research, the proposed media, and strategies by which the media could be spread by mobile phones. We brought to the Conference the mission-worker mentor/consultants from the various countries, who commented on the student work. Finally, plans were made to follow through, that is, to assure that quality productions would actually appear on phones in the designated countries.
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