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