Mobile%20Pic %20SAsia%208Do you ever finding yourself wondering "Who's doing what with mobile ministry?"  That's a question we had and we thought we'd start tracking down some of the practitioners in the mobile ministry field and trying to find out a bit more about their experience with it.  The result is a new "interview" series called "Ten questions for...".  So, without any further ado, we'll start you off with our first interview.

 

1. Please tell us something about yourself

My name is James Thomas. I lead Global Recording Network's (GRN) mobile technology team. My wife and I have four young children. I enjoy my commute to work each day on push bike. My favorite cartoon growing up was the Flintstones.  I loved the prehistoric inventions of modern day appliances.


2. How and why did you become involved with mobile ministry?

Global Recordings Network sees mobile devices as being an important distribution medium for their audio and video content. Mobile phones (cell phones) are prolific in the developing world. Phones with media player capability provide a personal means for unreached oral communicators to hear the story about Jesus in their heart language. It is for these reasons and the fact that I recently joined GRN coming from a mobile engineering background that I became involved with mobile ministry.


3. What excites you about mobile ministry?

I am excited by the potential of reaching so many people with the Good News about Jesus. There is no better message that we could be communicating.


4. What aspects of your background/training, books, websites, tools, etc. have been most helpful to you as you’ve moved forward in mobile ministry?

It has been most helpful to have in mind the end users experience. Hands on experience with many different phones is very valuable. Also, a good understanding of how to deliver content with the least cost and greatest benefit is important when targeting developing nations.


5. What seem to be some of the biggest obstacles to implementing effective mobile ministry? For you/your ministry? For the Christian world in general?

I am finding it very hard to understand the level of technical knowledge amongst our target users (oral communicators yet to hear the gospel). There will no doubt be a great mix of users, from users who know how to use every function of their phone inside out, to those who barely know how to make a phone call. Some of the richer content forms (eg audio and video) require a higher level of familiarity with the device. I am guessing, if we put our efforts in getting something going we can refine it later as more experience is gained.


6. What is one recommendation you could make that would help an individual or ministry be better able to move forward in mobile ministry?

Start somewhere. There is a whole ecosystem of methods to reach mobile users. One size does not fit all, so start with a generic mobile web site, and gradually evolve by adding other mobile distribution channels (eg apps, music stores) as required to reach your target users.


7. What is one hard earned lesson in ministry you would want to pass on to others here?

Trust in the Lord in everything. It is not through our own efforts that people follow Jesus, it is only by God working in someones heart that they will turn to Him.


8. What area of mobile ministry do you feel the Church need to bring more focus and effort to?

Mobile technology is increasing the reach of traditional communication networks. This presents unprecedented opportunities to communicate the greatest story of all time to people that previously could not be reached through any other form of remote communication. I feel the Church needs to increase its focus on reaching the unreached with the gospel, and help those who are already Christians, but cutoff from other mature Christians, to grow in their knowledge and understanding of God.


9. What aspect of mobile is overrated in your mind? Why?

There is a place for mobile ministry in countries already rich in Christian resources, however the Church's priority should be those people without access to the gospel or other basic Christian resources. To reach these people groups, mobile ministry should not rely on technology that is not common amongst them (eg high speed networks or iPhone apps).


10. Is there anyone else you’d like to see interviewed regarding mobile ministry?

Stephen Keel (Kiosk Evangelism), Brad Rhodes (Missionary Aviation Fellowship- Learning Technologies), Faith Comes by Hearing.
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