Yesterday I had the privilege to teach a practical missions class at Bethel Baptist College in Jacksonville, Arkansas. I wanted to leave something with the class that would really be a practical help to them when they begin the deputation process. These simple thoughts surely helped me when I was on deputation, and these principles certainly apply to furlough as well. These thoughts specifically apply to the materials- the prayer letter, letterhead, website, display, packet, and, most importantly (in my opinion), the DVD presentation. In this post, I will focus more on the DVD presentation.
I taught the class yesterday that a missionary should be willing to invest time and money into quality materials. I'm not saying that missionaries need to reject someone who offers their services for free to be a blessing to the missionary. I thank God that Nathan Sage offered his skills to help with our first video project. But missionaries should be willing to invest some money if need be in order to have quality materials. Missionaries should not have the mentality that says, "I will do the bare minimum to get by with my materials." Some might say, "Well bless God, we're doing deputation depending on God, not on our materials." Okay, well why don't you take that philosophy and apply it to other areas of deputation. Why do you comb your hair before going to a meeting? Why do you wear a tie? Is this "depending upon a sharp outward appearance" to have success on deputation? Of course not. You do it to have a good testimony for the Lord. You do it because if you show up to a church completely disheveled, hair not combed, teeth not brushed, and kool-aid stains on the front of your shirt, you will be seen as someone who is not a good steward of the things God has given you, which is ultimately a bad testimony for the Lord, for you, for your family, for your church, and for the missions movement in general. So what about your materials? When a missionary has the "I'll just do enough to get by" mentality towards his deputation materials (prayer cards, DVD presentation, etc.), how will that affect his testimony? How will churches view his attitude towards his ministry? I think we as missionaries should apply this verse when it comes to our materials: "Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Again, we should not have quality, sharp materials in order to lift ourselves up; but we should have quality, sharp materials in order to glorify God and maintain a good testimony.
Now, I would like to share a couple of thoughts about your DVD presentation. First, think outside the box. You don't have to follow the cookie cutter pattern of every other missionary presentation out there. Change it up a little bit. Secondly, if you are not skilled in multimedia, either find someone to help you or be willing to hire someone. It needs to be the best quality that you can achieve with your resources. And the quality will vary from missionary to missionary depending upon each individual's resources. The key is to do the best you can with the resources God has given you. At the end of this post I will give you some websites of some Christian men who do quality work for very affordable prices.
When your presentation is of good quality and is done in a creative way, here are the results: people will be interested in the presentation; this leads to their paying attention to the presentation; this leads their hearing the message you are trying to present; this leads to more people being burdened for what burdens you; this leads to more people getting involved. The fact is that when people see the same types of presentations over and over and over again, their nature is to start tuning out what they are seeing. That is just the reality of the matter. So put together a presentation that will combat that "tuning out"!!!!
I would encourage you to visit the following websites if you are looking for someone to do some graphic design or video work:
www.vicdes.com This is the website of my good friend, Victor Huff. He is a member at Victory Baptist Church in Loganville, Georgia. He produced our furlough video, which you can watch by following this link: http://vimeo.com/57651068
http://internationaldesigns.info/ This is the website of my good friend and fellow missionary in Cambodia, Adam Wood. Adam designed our website, www.living-fields.com, as well as our prayer card and letterhead.
http://www.secondmilefilms.com/ This is the website of a friend of mine from Bible college, Andrew Garcia. He does high quality videography.