Josh, what are your reflections on the first 40 years of Jesus Film Project®?
I love that Jesus Film Project has always been a ministry of innovation. The Lord birthed the "JESUS" film from Dr. Bill Bright's initial vision for a movie about Jesus that would transcend illiteracy and give people the opportunity to know Him. As we started doing language translations, everything changed when people could hear Jesus speak to them in their own heart language.
Have partnerships accelerated the ministry?
Those early proclamation days of trying to give everybody one chance to see Jesus turned quickly into: What's going to happen to those who do hear about Jesus? How do they become rooted and grounded in their faith? It was clear early on, that partnerships were going to be critical to fulfilling the mission.
How do you flex to provide the varying ministry strategies around the world?
Our study of Pakistan is a great example. This country has yet to fully see the gospel take root, and so that's one challenge. There are Pakistani people throughout the country with no access to digital technology. So we have to bring the gospel to them physically. Yet, 25 percent of Pakistani people are drastically different—they are connected to each other and the broader world economy through technology. So effective ministry is also about creating opportunities to reach the media-distracted as well. Same country, same people, two unreached groups, two distinct strategies.
Tell us about the future of Jesus Film Project.
The vision is still about reaching the world through evangelism and discipleship. There are thousands of people groups separated by language and geography. And in stark contrast, the majority of the world is more connected than ever. It is clear we need strategies to overcome both of these obstacles.
We will rapidly partner to translate the "JESUS" film into thousands more languages. For many people around the world who have no access to the gospel, the heart language is the most effective way to reach them.
To reach the media distracted, we will need to boldly partner to create new films that speak the heart language of this digital generation. The challenge will be to help media producers around the world convey the gospel in ways that lead to fruitfulness.
None of this is possible without partnership at every level. We need to partner more widely and more effectively with all kinds of organizations, denominations and individuals to get the job done. And financial partnership with generous people make this all work.
What is most sobering as you lead Jesus Film Project forward?
The first day I stepped into this role, a well-respected ministry leader called me and we got together and he said, "You’re now serving in an amazing role. The body of Christ is looking to Jesus Film Project to help accomplish its mission." The idea that we exist to accelerate others' mission is motivating and humbling.
If we fail to take risks, if we're too wary about partnering, what blessing will we miss out on? Our task as a ministry is one of stewarding all of our films conscientiously. It's not something that we created or own. It is something the Lord's using and we're privileged He's allowing us and the worldwide church to be a small part of that over the last 40 years!
PRAYER POINT: Ask the Lord to send laborers and partners to continue sharing the "JESUS" film and other resources in creative and innovative ways.