The Christian Smartphone Project

Project for 2013-14 school year:

The Christian Smart-Phone Project

Goal: student teams from seven schools will devise strategies for Christian outreach via mobile technology (cell phones, feature phones, smartphones), and if appropriate, produce audience-appropriate media carrying messages of the Christian Gospel that can be viewed by vast numbers of people on their phones in a variety of countries around the world

While research results and video productions are the tangible goals of the project, its underlying purpose is 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):

We need to understand the cutting edge of the technology used to make videos available to be viewed on vast numbers of smart phones in many parts of the world. To learn this, we hosted a day-and-a-half gathering consisting of the following participants:

  • qualified expert(s) 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 advisors
  • Interested persons from school and church technology staffs
  • About 55 people attended this workshop at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwuakee.

2. Engage mission worker mentor/consultants:

We have found mission workers in a number of overseas countries, who will be 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 have been chosen.

3. Invite schools to create research and production teams:

Seven schools (colleges and high schools) have agreed to create research and production teams of students, under a faculty advisor. Their tasks include these steps:

  • Select a country in which their final production(s) could be made available.
  • The team has been put in touch with the mission worker mentor/consultant in that country.
  • The team is researching 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 will be given to whatever peculiarities might exist in regard to getting videos onto smartphones in that country. This research aspect is a vital part of the project: it brings multiple academic disciplines to bear on the task of communicating a message of Christian comfort, and builds valuable groundwork for future media outreach in chosen countries.
  • Drawing on their research, the team will devise strategies for Gospel outreach via mobile devices, and if appropriate, produce media that proclaims the Gospel for potential use on phones in their chosen country.

4. Host a culminating “Smartphone Video Festival” (March 22-23, 2014):

The production teams from participating schools will gather, meet one another, and display their work, that is, both their research and the resulting media. We will bring to the Festival the mission-worker mentor/consultants from the various countries, who will comment on and critique the student work. Finally, plans will be made to follow through, that is, to assure that quality productions will actually appear on phones in the designated countries.

All interested persons are welcome to attend this Festival, to be held at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota, USA.

5. Funding:

The project is being funded by a generous grant from persons associated with the US Cellular corporation.

For further information, contact



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Who can help?

Who can help?

Quality media production is a team effort, needing contributions from a wide variety of specialties, such as the categories below. We want to locate Christian individuals in any of these specialties with the talents and willingness to help. The list below contains contact information for some who have contacted us, and given permission for their information to be seen there. Names can be added under each category. Look also at the list of Partners of CMI.

We especially need “writers,” so that category is first.

Writers: Technology is the easy part. The biggest need is for CONTENT, that is, people who can write, who can craft a screenplay (or want to learn how), who can plan how a piece of Bible history would appear onscreen, who can turn a Catechism lesson into an episode, who can make a Scripture passage speak to someone who can’t read, who can create a Christian internet webisode, who can exercise God-given creativity to spread the Gospel.

Actors: Skilled onscreen talent (and off-screen voices) are necessary to portray Gospel-bearing stories with the highest quality, to be worthy of the message, and to earn the respect of viewers.

Timothy M. Sherman  resume available – posted 7/10/13

Seth D. Bode  voice actor, info available – 4/30/14

Artists: To be worthy of the Gospel message, our media productions must be of the highest quality. We need excellent original artwork for each production.

Attorneys: Laws, regulations and procedures for using mass media differ markedly around the world. In many places, proclaiming the Gospel is risky, even dangerous. Legal expertise can help design plans for overcoming the legal and political barriers that hinder Gospel media use around the world.

Business Managers: Media production is a complex and expensive process. Savvy managers are needed to establish priorities, control budgets, and make sure scarce funds (often from donations) are used in the most responsible and efficient manner possible.

Graphic Designers: To be worthy of the Gospel message, our media productions must be of the highest quality. We need excellent original design for each production.

Historians: What great stories there are in the history of the Christian church, stories of great hymnwriters, musicians, missionaries, moms and dads, many others! We need these great stories, His-stories, to be brought to the world via media.

International businesspersons: Laws, regulations and procedures for using mass media differ markedly around the world. In many places, proclaiming the Gospel is risky, even dangerous. Expertise in international business can be applied to design plans for overcoming the legal and political barriers that hinder Gospel media use around the world.

Media Industry Workers: Producer, technician, editor, director, camera operator, talent, etc. These have the skills and experience required to create Gospel-bearing media of the high quality needed to be worthy of the message and to earn the respect of viewers. They know the teamwork media productions require, and can guide, direct, inspire, teach, and DO.

Money Managers and Accountants: Media production is a complex and expensive process. Savvy money managers are needed to track contributions and budgets, and make sure scarce funds (often from donations) are used in the most responsible and efficient manner possible. Media productions (and Gospel-bearing media productions are no exception) involve teams of workers on salary, or working hourly; payroll must be managed. Money management must be impeccable, to be worthy of the Gospel message.

Musicians: To be worthy of the Gospel message, our media productions must be of the highest quality. We need excellent original music for each production.

Pastors/Theologians:  Pastors create powerful Law-and-Gospel sermons at least once a week. Perhaps they can craft similarly powerful Scriptural messages into a screenplay, documentary, webisode, or message to appear on an iPad or smartphone, designed for an audience of teens, or active military/veterans, or audiences in countries and cultures around the world.

Puppeteers: Puppet shows bearing Christian messages provide an especially useful opportunity. They can be shown live in your church, school, or community, of course. But also, once made into videos, their usefulness can expand world-wide. Puppet-speak can be dubbed into virtually any language, and audiences world-wide find good puppet shows entertaining. Everyone has seen Sesame Street, so the productions must be of the highest quality to be worthy of the Gospel message, and to earn the audience’s respect.

Scientists: There are stories in the scientific disciplines, stories that proclaim the glory of God, and open doors to presenting the Gospel. Some stories can be “science-fact,” because God created the world scientists explore. Some can be “science-fiction”: imagine a good science fiction tale that recognizes (not “the Force” but) the Triune God, the Creator Father who sent His Son to solve the world’s greatest problem, sin, and whose Spirit moves as powerfully in the future as today.

Social Scientists: psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, students of human behavior – We need to understand thoroughly the music, literature and folklore, religions and religious attitudes, demographics, thought patterns, and everything else we can know about the people we are trying to reach. Effective Gospel presentations understand and respect the cultures into which they are sent. We don’t want to offend needlessly. Yet the Gospel message is universal, and speaks to the life experiences of those in any culture.

Translators: Many Gospel-bearing media productions, once made, can be dubbed into virtually any language, their impact multiplied as they are used in many places around the world. Christian puppet shows especially invite dubbing; you don’t even have to match their lips!

Travel Agents: Media production for world-wide Gospel outreach requires lots of travel: producers scout locations, actors and crews journey to the site, agents negotiate distribution in various countries, trainers travel around the world encouraging local production, mission workers and students gather to inspire and learn.


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Crowd-writing Premise

Christian Crowd-writing Adventure

Video of the launch discussion, held in the Production Studio, Honsey Hall, Bethany Lutheran College – 7:00-8:30 pm CDT, Monday 29 April, 2013. Download video session discussion summary.

Join the continuing discussion online at

Download Resources for Screenwriters, a list by Jas Lonnquist.


Welcome to this experiment in creativity. Here is the premise from which we will continue to build the framework for a new Christian TV and/or Webisode series:

“There is a human colony on a distant planet.
It comes to the attention of a Christian missionary on Earth.”

Outline of the discussion:

a. time(s): when does the story occur? How long a period will the story cover?
b. place(s): where will episodes take place?
c. atmosphere: what is “the world” like? What mood are we aiming for?

a. protagonist: who is the “hero” of the story? Do we like this person or not? what strengths? what flaws?
b. antagonist: who or what is the “villain,” the protagonist’s opponent? If a person, likeable or not? what strengths? what flaws?
c. secondary characters: how many? What purpose does each serve?

a. overall story arc: what important goal does the protagonist seek, that won’t be reached until the final episode?
b. obstacles: what stands in the way of the protagonist reaching the goal?
c. conflict: in what areas will conflict occur?
d. backstories: is there a pre-story history that lends depth to the characters?

a. What stages will the protagonist go through on the way to the goal?
b. What stories will secondary characters become involved in?
c. Imagine some individual episode possibilities.
d. Could each episode contain a Gospel message? Should it?

We may or may not reach consensus on any of these. That’s OK. The discussion continues online at

Join in! Who knows where it goes?

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Crowd-writing Adventure




Join Jas Lonnquist

Professional screenwriter and producer

coming from California to lead us in

An Adventure in (Christian) Crowd-Writing


Together we will create the framework for a Christian TV/webisode series.

Here’s how it will work:

Sunday evening, April 28,

 we will post a story premise on the Christ in Media Institute Facebook page.


Monday evening, April 29, at 7 pm Central time,

we will gather in the BLC Studio, Honsey Hall, to begin “crowd-writing” the story series.


Join us in one of these ways:

A. In person: come to the BLC Studio, Honsey Hall, on the Bethany Lutheran College campus, Mankato, MN.


B. On-line: Join the session live-streamed on the website. During the session, send in your ideas (we’ll explain how).


C. Continuing the discussion: View the session during the following days on vimeo, and join in the online discussion, as the crowd-writing continues. Who knows where it goes?

Here is the story premise.

Sponsored by the Christ in Media Institute at Bethany Lutheran College

This is the first event of Media Week

hosted by Bethany Lutheran College


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Thank you for the donation

Thank you!

Your donation will be managed by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod,
and directed to the appropriate agency of the
Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS)
or the
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)
toward which your gift is designated.

You will soon receive a more personalized thank you,
and acknowledgment of your generosity.

May God bless your love of missions!

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Support Media Mission Projects

How you can support Mission Media Projects:

Please read below about Christian media projects in home and world missions that you can support with your special gifts.

All opportunities listed here serve missions of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), and their world partners. The ELS manages the donations, and distributes the funds to the appropriate agency. They are contributions to the church (tax deductible).

Please consider contributing, over and above your regular congregational and synodical giving, in honor of a loved one or an acquaintance, or simply as a special gift. Proceeds from group projects and fund-raisers are also welcome.

Donors need not supply the entire listed amount for a project. Funds designated for a particular project accumulate until the needed total is reached, and then they are applied to enable the project to go forward.

Click on the links below to read further details about each project. Then, if you are so moved, click on the “donate” button to make your gift by credit card or PayPal.

Project 01:   Bible teaching tools for Haiti orphans and Amazon jungle villages

11 Portable Media Distribution Systems

Download PDF with more details.

Our mission workers are teaching children in eight orphanages in Haiti, most with no electricity. If each site had one of these systems, they could be used to present Bible history stories and other lessons to the children more effectively. In addition, similar units could be carried by native evangelists to instruct people in remote Amazon jungle villages. The missionaries will decide where the first donated PMDS’s will be used.

Number of PMDS’s needed: 11
Number purchased so far: 1
Cost of each: $450

Given so far for first PMDS: $25




Project 02:  Video Gospel outreach at world mission sites

5 Mission Field Video Production Packages

Download PDF with more details.

This package enables the people living in a mission location to produce their own videos of services, Bible classes, and other materials for outreach to their community. Last fall requests for these MFVPPs were received from 5 overseas locations. So far, one has been donated and delivered.

Number of MFVPPs needed: 5
Number delivered so far: 1   (to Lutheran Church of Chile)
Cost of each: $2500

Given so far for second MFVPP: $50




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MOWM Action Items

MOWM Conference Action Items

List is from suggestions by conferees and does not reflect Conference discussion. Additional ideas, not listed here, appear in Conference sessions viewable online.

General: everyone “like” our sites on Facebook.

1 Cultural Challenge

a. Create joint WLC/BLC course to study and conduct “world mission market analysis,” including analysis of demographics, cultural/historical factors, spiritual needs, forms of expression, existing materials, etc.
Refer to: two colleges

b. Create online repository of stories from world fields/ guide regarding cultural differences
Refer to: synod mission boards

c. Create course in colleges/seminaries about cultural differences (available also to mission volunteers)
Refer to: the colleges and seminaries

2 Technological Challenge

a. Explore potential in the Cloud for a variety of purposes.
Refer to: colleges, synod tech leaders

b. Create online directory of resources (professionals, advisors, best practices, writers, etc.), including people in world fields with skills
Refer to: CMI, producers of synod yearbooks

c. Hold meetings between experts and directors in both WELS and ELS to discuss best practices and create partnerships.
Refer to: Communication directors of each synod.

d. Consider model to create and distribute royalty-free audio recordings of Lutheran writings.

e. Investigate possible central media production house for both synods.

f. Push content to military and their families by cell phone.

3 Creative Challenge

a. Systematically collect from world missionaries their perceptions of media needs.
Refer to: synod mission boards

b. Create Gospel-bearing media that start with where people live (in different cultures); work with nationals; get writers on-site
Refer to: synod mission boards, production companies

c. Provide support for creative people in form of pay / release time. Give similar support to those who write for audiences of unbelievers, or beginner Christians.
Refer to: synod missions leaders, schools

d. Develop media writers through targeted courses, challenges and competitions.
Refer to: our colleges, high schools, CMI

e. Create an online “Lutheran Media Writers” discussion/ support group.
Refer to: CMI

f. Translate ELS “Dark about Jesus” DVD into other languages.
Refer to: ELS mission leaders, BLTS, Stone Path

g. Find “patrons” to support creative people.

h. Invest in local, spiritually mature translators.

i. Develop talent in music for media.
Refer to: our colleges, CMI

j. Create new culture-relevant music for worship.
Refer to: BLTS students

k. Produce feature films.

l. Create VBS materials to download from online.
Refer to: Lutheran elementary school teacher

m. Produce books with simple core teachings for national church leaders.
Refer to: publishing houses
Develop a Lutheran branding

n. Develop Lutheran branding.

o. Expand efforts to puppets, animation, video games, music videos

p. Podcast relevant courses and lectures.
Refer to: our colleges

q. Consider military families as an audience.

r. Solicit artists to render a non-white/ non-western image of Jesus.
Refer to: College art departments

s. Specific projects mentioned:
Suicide prevention PSA’s for veterans
Novel: Blue Heart Blessed by Susan Meissner

t. Produce 50-70 key Bible history stories in 40 languages.

u. Create “English as a Second Language” videos featuring the Gospel and Bible history.

4 Legal/political Challenge

a. Make more material copyright-free.
Refer to: publishing houses

b. Create central knowledge base for managing challenges/ finding attorneys/ experiences and strategies
Refer to: synod mission leaders

5 Teaching local production Challenge

a. Form a tech team to train national workers, and send them abroad along with equipment.
Refer to: synod mission leaders, Stone Path, Kingdom Workers

b. Create video to train nationals in equipment use, supplemented by Skype consultation.
Refer to: Stone Path

c. Create online international forum for learning tech operations.

6 Stewardship Challenge

a. Develop targeted giving systems, including FaceBook pages for specific projects.
Refer to: Synod mission leaders, CMI

b. Create online giving system on KickStart model
Refer to: Synod tech workers

c. Find “patrons” to support creative people.
Refer to: synod publication groups

d. Use social media to raise funds.
Refer to: colleges for planning

e. Plan media thrust around upcoming Reformation anniversary.
Refer to: Synod communication directors, special committees

f. Conduct careful activity audit in both synods, to eliminate duplication.
Refer to: hired consultant

g. Find ways that people in world fields could contribute.
Refer to: Kingdom Workers

7 Discipleship Challenge

a. Study the theology of virtual congregations.
Refer to: Synod doctrine committees

b. Continue to develop the technology of virtual congregations.

c. Start a worldwide virtual congregation in English from headquarters at Bethany.
Refer to: MLPubs, Stone Path, BLC

d. Actively promote “spiritual gift ministry.” (


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MOWM Conference session videos

Videos of the seven sessions

of the Media Outreach in World Missions Conference

Session One: The Cultural Challenge. (55 min)
read the leaders’ pre-conference comments

Session Two: The Technological Challenge. (65 min)
read the leaders’ pre-conference comments

Session Three: the Creative Challenge
(Unfortunately a technical problem prevents us from posting this session online – particularly embarrassing since this is a technology conference, and particularly disappointing because this topic is one of the most important, and this session was one of the best. Look for more on this subject in future programs.)
read the leaders’ pre-conference comments

Session Four: the Legal / Political Challenge (37 min)
read the leaders’ pre-conference comments

Session Five: the Challenge of Teaching Local Production (78 min)
read the leaders’ pre-conference comments

Session Six: the Stewardship Challenge (71 min)
read the leaders’ pre-conference comments

Session Seven: the Discipleship Challenge (74 min)
read the leaders’ pre-conference comments

Sunday morning International Worship Service. (70 min)

Session Eight: The final Conference session (no video) considered a list of “action items” that emerged from suggestions submitted during the Conference, in the hope that  Conference discussions would bear fruit. The Christ in Media Institute will monitor these items and support ventures that reflect them. Click here to read the list.

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Websites of Interest

Some websites of interest

Individuals supporting our mission have brought these websites to our attention, and we bring them to yours. Listing them here is not necessarily a recommendation. Send additional suggestions to

Sites within our fellowship

(connected with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod or Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)

Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod
Three main functions: sharing the Gospel, providing support for spiritual growth, and informing members about the synod’s work.

Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The ELS provides information and outreach tools.

Multi-language Publications
Produces cross-cultural Lutheran Christian publications.

WELS-tech Podcasts
Weekly ministry-technology “talk radio” show thriving on the community of techies in synodical circles, congregations, missions, schools, and other organizations.

Una página de teología luterana en español
Theological essays, some works of Luther, devotions, and a manual on the Catechism.

Time of Grace Ministry
Spreading God’s Word worldwide through multiple media.

Salty Earth Pictures
A non-profit devoted to encouraging, producing, and distributing entertainment and media that lightens hearts, challenges minds, and strengthen souls. Produces everything from feature film to webmedia that shares Christ with a world in need.

Do All Paths Lead to God?
You-tube video by Pastor Brad Kerkow

3031 Tech Forum
A digital watering hole where technology professionals & enthusiasts explain, recommend, and troubleshoot technology

“Who Is Jesus” Book
An interactive book for the iPad, containing lots of information and clips from the film “Road to Emmaus.”

Sallie Draper’s Blog
Insights from the WELS tech trainer.

Sites from outside our fellowship

Free Internet Bibles and Bible Stories for Gospel Outreach around the World
Judy Kuster’s comprehensive survey of free resources.

Could be used to assign and manage projects for working in multiple locations.

Adobe training for all kinds of production products, Adobe and others.

International Conference on Video and Media
ICVM 2013 is a leading annual conference of Video and Media for all researchers home and abroad.

Gideon Media Arts Conference / Film Festival
Where cutting-edge media arts are combined with one of the most unique Christian conferences and Christian film festivals in the country.

Sermons for Kids
Free reproducible materials, lessons, activities. Very useful, but watch for some decision theology.

Cooke Pictures
Provides video, web, and branding resources for Christian ministries.

Free Bible Images
Photo-like illustrations of Bible history stories, copyrighted but can be used at no charge.

Distant Shores Media
Exploring all aspects of media use for Gospel outreach.

Open Bible Stories
A project of Distant Shores (above). Drawn illustrations of Bible history stories, open source (not copyrighted and can be used at no charge).

The Brinkman Adventures
Using stories (audio), not for outreach but to teach and motivate the home front, especially children, about missions.

Christian Commons
A discussion in depth of a copyright-free approach to mission materials.

Servants Aid
Non-denominational Christian service providing free media services for missions, plus a social service component. Considerable work in Haiti.


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Conference Leaders

Conference Leaders

These mission leaders have been engaged to lead Conference discussions. Their comments on the seven challenges will be posted here online prior to the Conference, around September 1. Each of them supplied a position description.

Gonzalo Delgadillo

Director of Spanish Publications at Multi-Language Publications Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Coordinates translation, revision, layout, printing and distribution of Publications. He also works in Spanish Long Distance Learning Program.

Paul Hartman

Paul Hartman has been a world missionary of the WELS since 1977. He served in Puerto Rico until 1982 and has served in El Paso, as the Friendly Counselor for Confessional Lutheran Church in Mexico until 1990, as Director of Publications for Latin America until 2000, and currently as Coordinator of Multi-Language Publications. He received a Master of Divinity from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1973 and a Master of Arts (Spanish) from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1995.

John Lawrenz

Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, President emeritus, Director of Advanced Studies, Asia Lutheran Seminary, Hong Kong

Jas Lonnquist and Michael Klebig

JAS LONNQUIST is an award-winning writer and producer with credits in film,

television, video, and print.  Her work has appeared on PBS, the Discovery Channel, Comedy Central, Tech TV, and more.  Four of her comedies have been honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the prestigious Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships.  She recently covered the history of high tech in a seventeen-film series for the Computer History Museum and her new TV series “Revolutionaries” airs on PBS.  Credits also include scripts for NASA, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Dell Computers, and other technology giants.

MICHAEL KLEBIG is a Field Sales Engineer in Silicon Valley who specializes in thermal applications for the global semiconductor industry, but his life-long hobby of audio engineering and more recent interest in video recording and editing have led to exciting opportunities in ministry.  He and his wife Jas Lonnquist, as volunteers, have coordinated the video studio for their San Jose church since 2005.  In 2006, Michael designed an inexpensive video package to enable the global broadcast of sermons over the internet in the Hmong language and tapped son Rev. Brian Klebig to facilitate training.  This broadcast package has been cloned twice by father and son for churches in Wisconsin and Florida.

Terry Schultz

Dr. Terry Louis Schultz holds a dual call.  He serves as WELS Missionary at Large, in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  He is also an ELS missionary, overseeing the work in the Peruvian Amazon and teaching students of the Amazon Shawi tribe at the jungle seminary in Tarapoto.

Ugis Sildegs

Co-pastor of Riga Lutheran Church in Latvia, Ugis translates books from Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and is in the process of writing his dissertation at Helsinki University on Latvian Church history during the Soviet time. Until 2008 he was editor of the newspaper Latvian Lutheran.

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