Morgan Jackson explains the difference between an Audio Bible listening program and the Proclaimer listening device.
Hi, I’m Morgan Jackson, the director of Faith Comes By Hearing.
You know, I’ve been traveling in Asia this week, and something that just keeps kind of coming up is the difference between the Faith Comes By Hearing program and equipment – or the Proclaimer. I always get this sense sometimes that people get captivated by the Proclaimer, a piece of equipment, and they forget that, really, Faith Comes By Hearing is a process and a program, and we’ve created the Proclaimer to fit into that process.
As we began to look at the whole world and all of the issues of illiteracy, one of the things that became very, very clear was that the people we’re working with live in oral communities. And so if we could provide a tool and a process where they could come together and listen in community – just like they did in the Old Testament, and just like Jesus did with his disciples – then we could reach a whole community. We could reach a whole church. We could reach multiple villages.
Now, what we found is if we just take a piece of equipment and we hand it to somebody, we reach one person. But if we take a piece of equipment that’s created specifically for a listening group environment – to last ten, fifteen years; rechargeable batteries that have 3,000 recharges on them; the audio loud enough that up to a thousand people can hear it – then in the environments which we work, it allows people to disciple whole communities and also take that same tool, because of its ruggedness, and go village by village, community by community, and evangelize.
So when we talk about Faith Comes By Hearing, let me make sure you understand what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about is going in first to churches. And when we go into those churches in rural areas, we always are working with national partners.
So if you’re going into the Philippines, it’s going to be a Filipino that’s going to be coming in to the slum or the area where the church is. If it’s in Africa and it’s among the Konkombas, then it’s going to be a Konkomba riding on a bicycle, with a torchlight or a flashlight on the front of the bike, coming into that village. In Guatemala, it’s going to be a Guatemalan Indian. So when they come in, the people see them as one of their own.
And the Audio Bible is going to be distributed to them as a gift from the Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Bible Society, the local Campus Crusade, or a national church. And so the commitment to use the Proclaimer, in a listening group environment, the training is going to be done by a local church community.
So they’re not going to think about some organization, back in the United States, called Faith Comes By Hearing. They’re not going to know that you’re the donor that gave it to them. They think that the Bible Society in Guatemala is the one that gave this gift to them in exchange for their commitment.
Now when that worker comes in to the pastor, he’s going to spend – or she’s going to spend – about an hour to three hours with that pastor going through all the Scriptures, from Deuteronomy 6, “Hear, O Israel;” Deuteronomy 31, Moses’ command for the whole nation to be assembled every seven years and listen; the great revivals – Joshua in the Valley of Decision, Josiah, Second Kings 22–23, where he had the whole nation gather to listen, Nehemiah 8 and 9 where Ezra did the same thing – and then showing that Jesus chose disciples who were illiterate, Matthew being the only disciple that we knew that was literate.
So they’re understanding – these pastors and leaders who have less than a sixth grade education – understand that the leaders of the Old Testament and of the New, many of them were illiterate, and yet they were commanded to hear the Word of God and obey it.
And so what we teach them is a very simple process of gathering people together to listen together. We kind of use a hand and we say, “You’re going to listen, and then you’re going to go: Head.”
Head is, what did you hear? Who is in the story? Jesus walked on water. John the Baptist was baptizing in the wilderness. So what did you hear?
Second is: Heart. What are the questions you have? What are the things that touched your heart? And we teach the leader of the listening group not to answer the questions. So when people say, “Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?” the leader doesn’t answer it. He turns it back to the people: “Why do you think?” Because if the people engage in the conversation and they come up with the answer, then they own it. And so that interactive conversation then comes to a conclusion.
Which is the third, which is: Hand. Jesus says if you hear these words of mine and do them, you’re like a wise man who builds your house upon a rock. But if you don’t, you’re like a foolish man who builds your house on sand. So which are you?
So we’ve heard that Jesus said you’re supposed to forgive. We’ve heard that if you have ought against somebody, or you know somebody has ought against you, you’re supposed to leave your gift at the altar and go be reconciled. So hand is, “We’ve heard all this; what are we going to do?” And so the discussion in the community comes to an action plan after the listening.
And then the final is: Prayer. Because to forgive is impossible for us, and that’s why the disciples, when Jesus says – they said, “How many times should we forgive?” He says, “Seven times seventy,” and they said, “Increase our faith! That’s impossible!” And so it’s only with the Holy Spirit and with prayer can we then do the things that God has commanded us to do.
So we teach them that basic structure. The national worker then gets a commitment: When are they going to listen? How long are they going to listen? Minimum requirement is 30 minutes a week, followed by 30 minutes of discussion, so in a year they listen through the whole New Testament and the whole community then is discipled.
Now that national worker is instructed, or trained, to follow the listening group up three times. The first visit, to show them how to do it, oftentimes they gather the people to listen. Two additional groups, or times that they meet with them, are to make sure they’re doing the listening; that the person isn’t preaching, but having engaged conversation; and to encourage them to use it for evangelism.
We find that if that’s done, the follow-up’s done, that on average, four listening groups will be formed. So they use it in the church, and then they’ll use it for three evangelistic listening groups. Not only that, 90 people will be discipled, but over the coming years, 450 additional people will be reached. Whether those people come to Christ or not, we don’t know, but they’ll have heard the Gospel clearly from somebody who’s been discipled.
So when you think about Faith Comes By Hearing, you see the Proclaimer. The Proclaimer is a powerful device, but it’s powerful because it’s used inside a process through the church, national workers, training leaders and pastors, to gather people to listen together as they did in the time of Nehemiah and Josiah.
And that’s why we talk about Josiah a lot, because we see great revival as people gather to hear the Word of God in their own language. And so you and I remain unknown, but the Word of God is given to every church, every village, every school, every community, once it’s recorded. So thank you for your help. Hope this was helpful.