Digital Technology The Next Revolution in World Missions

WILLS POINT – When K.P. Yohannan originally published the now classic Revolution in World Missions, he discussed the coming change that would radically transform the established norms of missionary work. Missionaries would no longer be sent out to foreign countries where they had to learn a new language and live in cultures they did not completely understand. That practice would be replaced predominantly by training local believers to become missionaries in their own countries.

When K.P. Yohannan originally published the now classic Revolution in World Missions, he discussed the coming change that would radically transform the established norms of missionary work. Missionaries would no longer be sent out to foreign countries where they had to learn a new language and live in cultures they did not completely understand

Nearly 40 years later, we are beginning to witness an entirely new revolution in world missions. This time the revolution is the introduction of new technologies that will help believers reach the unreached in the remotest regions of the world.

The combination of solar-powered batteries and digital technology has now made hand-held, LED projectors available to national missionaries – even where there is no electricity.

Hand-held projectors are now available with enough image clarity and speaker capacity in configurations so that groups ranging from just a few to over 500 people can see and hear the Gospel message “on film.” What is more, the projectors come with SIM cards containing a wide variety of pre-loaded or self-provided content in the native tongue of those who will witness the presentations of the local missionaries.

The technology is now so advanced that local missionaries are able to carry everything they need in a backpack. Some faith-based organizations have multiple configurations available for different field requirements. Others offer kits that include a mini-projector, portable outdoor speakers, and solar power banks.

Renew World Outreach has already supplied thousands of these systems and audio Bibles to organizations such as Campus Crusade, Wycliffe, Youth with a Mission, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Founded by David Palusky, a former missionary with an engineering degree, RWO offers a variety of prepackaged systems.

The most popular is:

“A complete solar-powered portable A/V system that includes a 30-watt solar panel, a marine-grade speaker, a DVD player, an Optoma Pico LED video projector, a microphone, an audio mixer/amplifier with four inputs, four speaker hookups and a video output, and an LED flashlight, all contained in a custom backpack and weighing just 45 lbs.”

Accustomed to lugging heavy projectors and generators through South American jungles, Palusky was determined to find a better, more reliable, more efficient way to carry the Gospel to the 2.9 billion people who have never heard of Jesus, including the 63% of them who have no electricity or internet access. Palusky reflects on the past, saying that the backpack “weighs less than just the generator I used to take with me.”

Christian Missionary Resources offers individual components in kit form for missionaries to use in evangelism, training, and outreach in “off-the-grid” locations.

Paul and Silas used the technology of parchment, sandals, and modern Roman roads to carry the Gospel across Asia Minor. Bulky filmstrip, slide, and movie projectors have been the empowering technology over the past 70 years. Some advances have been made possible by DVDs, iPads, and notebooks, but using these still requires access to electrical power.

Soon, missionaries in even the remotest regions will be using solar power to run portable, hand-held equipment that is lightweight and practical even in the uttermost parts of the earth.

Could the new technological revolution in world missions get even better? Another new technology is already under development: Paper batteries. No larger than an average adult fingernail, they are available in both rechargeable and disposable varieties.

Praise the Lord for His provisions to empower missionary work in ways our parents – or theirs – would never have dreamed.


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Image Source:

  • Axatech P1 Pico Projector, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)