Today’s young people are quite the expert cybersurfers, having grown up navigating surges and swells in the ever-changing sea of technology. And, since most of them turn to the Internet for everything from entertainment and shopping to social communication and education, it is more imperative than ever that we harness current and new media to catch their attention.
That is why Trans World Radio (TWR) recently launched a new website sub-portal, aimed at piquing the interest of 20-somethings and encouraging them to take a new look at world missions—and their role in it. TWR debuted its “Making Waves Since 1954” campaign at the 2006 Urbana Student Missions conference in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. A key part of the initiative is several online videos describing how missionaries today are needed in a broad range of vocations and expertise.
“We decided to produce a series of short-form conceptual videos targeting the so-called ‘YouTube generation,’” said TWR public relations director David McCreary. “We wanted to create something that would resonate at Urbana, but then could also have broader usefulness for at least a year or so beyond that conference. We also produced several thousand mini CDs to put into the hands of young people and drive them toward ‘Making Waves’ online.”
According to Chris Overman, one of TWR’s exhibitors at Urbana, “TWR’s main purposes in attending Urbana were to present the work of the mission to the next generation of young people and to offer them opportunities to become involved in what God is doing around the world. It was fantastic to see thousands of young people with a strong and fervent desire to use their skills and abilities to serve God wherever he calls them.”
Of the 115 solid contacts that TWR’s team made at Urbana, nearly one quarter of them have followed up about pursuing an internship. According to missionary care coordinator Heather Johnson, “I have had more preliminary questionnaires [returned] in the past two months than I processed in the latter half of last year.” She said that included people who had not attended Urbana and had come upon either the Making Waves site or the opportunities page on TWR’s main site.
“Young people today are looking to make a difference with their life. They want to use their skills, abilities and passions to make an impact for God,” said Overman. “But most believe these skills and passions won’t fit into missions. TWR’s Making Waves site shows them there is a huge need for people like them, and that God can use them anywhere in the world.”
As the Making Waves site poses: “From one distant point, a radio wave or a computer click can ripple out into hearts half a world away. You want to make those sort of waves for God? Then send us an email for more info about ways you can jump in and make a lasting difference.” In many of the responses that Johnson has received, students considering missions today express that they are interested in being the ones to start that ripple effect. Here are a few responses:
- “From what I hear, God is doing great things, but there is a need for more workers. Also, from the sound of the type of work that is being done, it would be a good way to serve Christ with my hands and heart.”
- “It has been on my heart for a while to use my gifts and abilities for God’s work and TWR is a mission in which he can use the training I have received thus far in college.”
- “My major is mass media…A friend told me about you and I was really interested. There was finally a way to share the gospel throughout the nations on radio! I'm called to the mission field. Working with TWR I believe would give me a chance to get a start in the right direction.”
- “TWR’s priority to target unreached people groups, and training pastors where there is a need. It would be fun to be part of something so big, so I could make a big impact. And, it looks to be a strategic move for the kingdom.”
- “I would like the experience of working toward promoting a ministry in an international setting. I feel that it would lead me in the direction which God is calling me to, which is missions, by enabling me to use my skills and abilities to bring God into people’s lives around the world.”
In addition to encouraging young adults toward internships and short-term missions with TWR, the online videos are also fun. Johnson said she’s received several positive comments about them, like one web visitor who wrote: “The videos on the site are hilarious, especially Amy getting locked in the bathroom and wearing the happy camper shirt.”
Anyone interested in pursuing stateside or international internships is encouraged to visit www.twr.org/makingwaves and complete the preliminary questionnaire or click the “Contact” link.