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A Journey with Many Stops

We stepped out of our home early one September morning to load our bags into a taxi headed for the Jakarta airport. We had done this several times in the past. Yet this time, the journey would be much longer. Instead of just a week or two, this trip would be nearly 4 months long with multiple stops across Asia and the US.

Content Innovation Summit

The Content Innovation Summit sparked great conversations with our media teams

Our first stop was in Chiang Mai, Thailand where FEBC held its first program directors’ conference in 10 years. The event drew directors from all across Asia and even from a country in Africa. The three-day summit was intended to promote sharing of innovations in programming. We learned from one another about a variety of approaches to connect with audiences around the FEBC world. Some of the innovations included movie conversation starters, children producing content for children, storytelling, and many others. The directors found several ideas to try. One highlight of the discussion was the many commitments to assist one another across ministry teams. For the next few months, the directors will be going back to their teams to explore their new ideas further.

Asia by Media Meetings

From there, we continued on to Tokyo, Japan for a series of meetings with Asia by Media. A major portion of our steering committee meeting involved reviewing the recent “Content in Context” workshop conducted in Indonesia. I was quite encouraged by the warm reception from the steering committee as they heartily endorsed the concept and encouraged me to repeat the workshop in the near future. We are currently considering a workshop in Thailand next year. I’m also in discussions with another media conference to introduce the concept, gauge interest and develop further opportunities for media teams to join.

Arrival in US

Barb and I are now in the US, starting our time of home assignment. We spent the first week in California with a visit to the FEBC-USA office on the agenda. We then made a stop in Denver, Colorado where I spent some time with our co-worker and good friend Guy West. His church was having a men’s retreat in the mountains. I was invited to join them to lead worship, share some songs, and work with the ministry’s leadership team.

The view of a snow-capped Pike’s Peak from the retreat center

We have now arrived in Minnesota for a few days as we get prepared for upcoming meetings with supporters and churches.

Meetings in October

Our schedule is starting to come together. We expect the month of October to be busy with a variety of events where we will be sharing our ministry. Here’s the current schedule:

  • Oct 7 – Steer Banquet in Bismarck ND
  • Oct 8 – First Baptist Church in Wishek, ND
  • Oct 15 – First and Lucky Mound Lutheran Churches in Parshall, ND
  • Oct 22 – Covenant Village in Golden Valley, MN
  • Oct 29 – Immanuel Lutheran Church in Springfield, MO
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Refining Our Focus

As with any journey, there are always adjustments to be made. Since we see the future through a dim lens, we trust the Lord to guide our steps. Such is the case every year when we, the International Service Team (IST) gather together following the annual FEBC International conference of our leadership. This year, our meeting took place in Seoul, South Korea, just as the cherry blossoms were blooming. Coming from the tropical temperatures of Indonesia, the cooler spring air of Korea was a refreshing welcome.

IST 2017 Korea

The International Service Team (IST) assembles once a year to plan and focus our efforts in support of FEBC International. This time, it was in South Korea.

In the dynamic ministry environment of media, particularly when working in so many cultures and languages, we frequently deal with change. We know that adjusting is just part of the process as we learn more about the needs of our international ministries across the FEBC world. We adjust the way we work together and apply the years of cross-cultural experience in the team to be more fruitful.

So over the past few months, I’ve been working to refine my roles in the IST. While I am still maintaining my project management role, I’ve noticed that the need in this area is diminishing. Most projects don’t require the kind of international coordination IST was offering to help them succeed. So this has freed me up to shift my focus to supporting production teams across FEBC International. I’m now working on the preparations for two conferences that will impact FEBC teams producing content not just for radio but for a wide variety of media channels available today. Here’s a brief focus of each:

  • Media Retreat Pilot: In cooperation with a network of international Christian media ministries known as Asia by Media, I’m developing a new concept called a “Media Retreat”. This involves bringing content production teams together into an environment where individual teams can review and develop strategies for impacting their audiences.
  • Content Innovation Summit: It has been several years since FEBC programming directors have met together. This summit is being designed to bring these leaders face to face to share what has worked in their context. They can learn new approaches that can encourage audiences to follow Jesus. We also look for new ways of partnering together for greater impact.

With these two events happening in calendar year 2017, there are many details to address to maximize the impact of these conferences. They don’t necessarily provide the answers, but offer environments of discovery where leaders and their teams are inspired to produce content relevant for their individual audiences.

Barb and I will appreciate your prayers as we work together in helping plan and coordinate these two events in the coming months. I’m currently working with others in and outside of FEBC to craft the agendas and approaches for the conferences, while Barb is assisting me with logistical details and venue arrangements. We have much to sort through in the weeks to come. Pray that these events will ultimately result in greater impact among the many different audiences FEBC serves.