November
02
2020
Meeting Jesus through the Gospels - online

A few years ago I was in an African country visiting churches in a poor rural area. After a church meeting the pastor introduced me to a young boy who wanted to practice his English. He was a new convert. He came from a very poor family. So what did we have in common to talk about? I started with football. Yes, he knew about the Premier League. No surprise there. What next? I noticed his smartphone – a rather battered looking android phone. So we compared phones and I asked him to show me some of his apps. He had a really good knowledge of how to use his phone effectively, despite the fact that the phone was so old and he had no connectivity in his home. In that moment I had a flash of inspiration. I realised that the smartphone is the key technology for the developing world. Smartphone use is going up and up in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I thought, to bring Christian resources to this young boy through an app on his phone?

 

A few years before this chance meeting I had already conceived an idea for a new discipleship resource. This idea was to teach through the gospels using all the materials in the four gospels set out in a chronological storyline. I originally planned for them to be audio recordings to go online. Then I decided to use a video format. Then, after my African encounter, I decided to turn this material into a web-based free app.

 

So five years ago I started working on Word online. It is a big project. My church gave me strong support by releasing my time, by financial giving, in prayer, through volunteer help and in the use of facilities.

 

My vision was to provide a unique resource for discipleship focused on the church in the developing world. It is primarily designed for those for whom English is a second language. Featuring 184 half hour videos on the life of Jesus using every single passage from all four Gospels to tell the story in full, from birth to ascension, the material is divided into 14 series which follow the life of Jesus through every phase. Audios, transcriptions and subtitles are available for every episode. Word online comes with a web-based app for smartphone use and podcasting is available on several platforms. Designed for worldwide use, Word online offers a strategic discipleship resource accessible to the global Church at https://wordonline.org.

 

The passion behind Word online is to support the growth of the church in the developing world where learning is based heavily on story-telling and where most people have limited access to Bible teaching resources. I believe the full life of Jesus as laid out in the four Gospels is an ideal basis for a discipleship course. One early user of the course said, “I discovered Word Online on Monday and have to tell you what a fantastic thing you have created. I have been recommending it to everyone I meet. It is a wonderful resource and I have already learnt so much from it! It has become a regular part of my daily devotions.”

 

The numerical centre of gravity of the church is shifting away from the West. Churches are growing fast in many poorer countries but local church leaders often express concern about the huge teaching and discipleship needs of their communities. Word online is designed to be a resource in this context. The presentation is accessible, the style is narrative-based and the focus is on Jesus himself. There is also a vision for to provide translation of our videos into other key languages in the future.

 

Word online is run by a newly formed charity and is a faith venture. If you like what you see, how about becoming a financial partner to enable us to develop the site and move into providing the material in other key languages?

 

Have a look at the website and do follow us on social media:

https://twitter.com/WordOnlineOrg

https://www.facebook.com/WordOnlineOrg

https://www.instagram.com/wordonlineorg/