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Elise Cooper - GRN International Instructional Design Coordinator
As a teacher there are certain resources on my bookshelf. They may be old, dog-eared, or falling apart, but they are better than gold. Even eight years after giving up teaching I have held onto these resources because they were highly effective at teaching a particular concept or skill to students in a way that no other resource had done. That ah-ha moment, the dawning light of understanding on a student's face is something that all teachers covet. I cannot name those resources or even who published them but I can locate them on my shelf and for many years they were my 'go-to' tools when planning teaching units or programmes. Similarly, my husband reaches for his favourite tools when he is repairing or constructing something.
People often feel the same way about GRN resources. For many remote language groups the GRN resources are the only ones available. However, to make these resources effective and culturally appropriate, people researched extensively.
Creating culturally appropriate audio and audio-visual materials in every language is so important to GRN that it is enshrined in our mission statement. For GRN this means painstaking research to become familiar with the needs of a people group and to create recordings that address these needs appropriately. Recording teams work in partnership with others (churches, missionaries, mission agencies, individuals) who know the people group, to establish relationships. The answers to key questions help GRN identify not only the best messages to record for the people group but also the best way the message should be delivered for maximum impact.
How does this people group communicate? Do they use stories, songs, music, drama or some other method?
What are the fears and concerns this people group struggle with? Do they struggle with superstition, fear of evil spirits or oppression?
What is their exposure to the Gospel? Do we record an introductory message or a story that addresses syncretism? Syncretism is a dangerous combination of Christianity with their own religion resulting in a misapplication or misunderstanding of a key aspect of the Gospel.
What are their lives like? Do they understand agriculture or are they city dwellers, for example? The story of the Good Shepherd may not mean much to a city dweller who has never seen a sheep.
Choosing the right message to record can be an effective way to break down resistance to the truth of the Gospel. Choosing the right way in which to deliver the message can penetrate cultural barriers to the Gospel.
As you can imagine this in-depth research approach takes much more time than merely setting up camp and hitting the record button in front of a likely looking suspect. Yet, it is this approach that has a great impact on the people who will hear the finished recording.