WHAT: Media provide amazing opportunities for learning… For many years radio was the primary media for teaching and instruction. Television has also been used extensively to provide extension courses. Today the Internet provides instruction non-stop, on demand 24 hours a day.
Radio has been used to teach listeners about agriculture and health and to gain skills in science, nathematics, learning foreign languages and a wide range of subjects.
In the Christian context instruction programs fall into two main categories: community development and Christian education.
Community development is the process of enabling communities to identify, plan, and implement action to change and improve their living and environment
WHY: With regard to Community Development we explain our commitment by looking at our understanding of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. The Bible shows how God is vitally concerned about the well-being of people. Jesus also reflected this in his life of compassion. He is our example. By engaging with the community through the media we demonstrate our love and concern for those around us.
For Christian education our basic concern is for people to know and understand the Bible and its teaching. They also need to know how they put into practice what they believe. Teaching may be for followers of Jesus on the one hand while on the other hand we have a desire to teach those who are sincerely interested in finding out about God’s Good News about Jesus.
In both instances media make instruction both affordable and accessible.
HOW: Participatory programming has proved to be most effective. Whatever medium we use program makers have found that it is best to get out among the people. People from the audience thus become an active part in the program making. They are able to have their say. They are empowered to openly talk about their problems and issues – or the things they don’t understand. They also become part of the solution.
BIBLICAL BASIS: Jesus spent a lot of time teaching his disciples. He also drew large crowds as he taught from a boat. Both Old and New Testaments of the Bible devote many chapters to teaching. It came to the Jewish people through the prophets who spoke the word of God. Many health and safety issues were passed on to the people through Moses and the giving of the Law. The New Testament writers wrote extensively – especially Paul. Their writing is also very timely for us today and needs to be shared and applied.
EXAMPLES: In one Asian country several churches were planted due to an agricutural program which contained no religious content or reference to Christianity. Farmers began listening to Christian programs before and after the agricultural program. A local pastor reported that he was now welcome in the farmers’ community because he was known as the friend of the program producer.
One of the best examples of teaching for Christians is found in FEBC’s broadcasts to China. Since 1980 a concerted effort was made in partnership with several agencies to provide the equivalent of a Bible School education for the growing numbers of Christians in China. Village Bible School was aired for 2 hours each night. Four courses were taught each week. The series was later upgraded and continues to provide a vital channel. For several years now it has also been backed up by a dedicated web-site and the downloading of programs and study materials.