Jesus, the Motorbike Rider…and the Internet
In front of a posh mega mall in Manila is a shop where a framed photo of a beaming Jesus in front of his motorbike is displayed. In a school east of the city, a laughing Jesus adorns a teacher’s desk. At a radio studio also in Manila is a poster of the Savior speaking in front of the mic. These different renditions of the traditional image of Christ indicate that people are looking for a relevant Jesus.
The challenge in Asia-Pacific is how to present Jesus in an effective manner given the various cultures and religions that shape the lives of billions. Christian communicators need to be perceptive and sensitive, and when it comes to packaging the gospel, creative in selecting the appropriate medium.
China, for example, has not been open to the public proclamation of the Gospel for over 50 years, so the best route has been via shortwave radio. Recognizing the prospects of reaching thousands or even millions, World Mission Broadcast in partnership with TWR, launched the two-hour radio program Awake with the Angels in January 2001 from the Trans World Radio studios in Guam.
The shortwave broadcasts proved to be an open door for the China Ministries team of WMB as it has been a tremendous source of nurture for new Chinese believers and a stepping stone for those seeking God. But times change and new strategies had to be developed. One such strategy is making Awake available online.
A report by TWR indicates a growing trend of frequent visits at internet cafes by Chinese students. Throughout 2003, web cast traffic related to Awake has seen a significant rise. In February 2003 for example, a total of 678 hits were registered with a total program download time of 2,207 hours. By August 2003, the online program registered 3,567 hits, 1,039 sessions involving 23 million KB data volume and total program download hours of 2,508. The average percentage of program/session was 244% revealing that in each of the above sessions, the visitor listened or downloaded 2.44 programs on the average.
This is a good sign indicating that visitors like the program and are finding the Gospel to be relevant to their needs. Perhaps, our next picture of Jesus should be at an internet café in Beijing in front of a PC, sipping a latte.
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