The ministry of storytelling
Jesus was a storyteller. God’s written revelation to the world is a book full of stories. Why did our Creator choose to communicate this way? There’s something powerful about information presented in the form of a story to capture minds and hearts. People remember them, pass them on, and are inspired to action because of them. The stories of the Bible give us a picture of God we would otherwise never know. He is known, partly, by the stories we tell about Him—what he did, who he touched, how he loved. And as God continues to work today, there are still stories to tell.
Africa Inland Mission is a large organization with hundreds of missionaries in active service. And in the more than one hundred years of mission work, AIM has shared only a glimpse of what God has been doing. These stories are a treasure so often lost because we are busy following our call. Aiming to tell more of them is the focus of AIM’s On-Field Media Team. The team members are also missionaries, with a common stake in the Great Commission, but bringing a unique set of technical and creative skills to the task. We are professional photographers, videographers, writers, and web and graphic designers—with a heart for communicating what God is doing in Africa.
Effective communication from the field can have a profound effect on missions and the Church. It serves the needs of partnership development, recruitment, project awareness, and prayer support. Communication strengthens the bond between the sending church and the missionaries on the field. But most of all, telling God’s stories brings glory to God. As the Psalmist wrote, “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” —Psalm 96:3
In the New Testament we learn of a communicator who did just that. Paul sends his fellow servant Tychicus back to the supporting churches with a specific message. He’s sent on more than one occasion—once to the Ephesians and once to the Colossians that we know of. And in both accounts, his singular task is to tell the story of their missionary journey and encourage the hearts of the local church.
“Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances, and that he may encourage your hearts… [He] will tell you everything that is happening here.” —Col 4:7-9 (and also Eph 6:21-22)
The mission of On-field Media
The OFM team is made up of missionaries—full-term, short-term, and freelance contributors. We are field-based, where the stories are; and we are mobile, able to go anywhere the requests or opportunities may take us. The work canvases a dozen or more countries and every kind of environment—from the inner city, to the ends of the earth. We rub shoulders with other missionaries, getting an intimate look into their ministries and into the lives of the people they minister to.
Some of our projects are initiated by AIM Mobilizing units, Receiving Units, or individual missionaries and ministry teams; and some are self-initiated. Our task is to capture, create, and manage various forms of media. We make content available for AIM’s broad communication needs, as well as the specific needs of an individual missionary. And by providing tools and encouragement, we also help the missionary community to become better communicators.
While the means of our communication are very different from those of Tychicus, we are serving the same “express purpose” as Paul’s faithful messenger:
Connecting… those who “go” with those who send them
Encouraging… the hearts of those who pray and give
Challenging… the next generation of missionaries