Just as in personal evangelism, the communicator wants to find out what bothers the person and then find a way to build a bridge of friendship and meet that need with the Gospel. The problem is finding people, making initial contacts and engaging them.
Media has the ability to reach large groups of people and with the right incentives, get them to write in to make that first contact based on a problem. They interact with the characters; “I enjoy hearing and identify myself with the actors especially actress. I feel embarrassed when they are in love or frighten when they are in sadness. I have learned about our family always beside us whenever we fall down.” Rungnapa Pewpong – Lop buri. The characters model seeker behavior and the listener (influenced by the Holy Spirit) writes in for various reasons.
In the Thai context, NTL has received contacts from well over 150 people like Rungnapa Pewpong. Many have requested information on financial management or marriage relationships. Many are now requesting the free T-shirts with the name of the (in development) website http://www.saiyairuk.com/ which will have downloadable scripts, podcasts of the radio program, message boards, etc.
In the Indo context we have re-purposed the contextual programs and experimented with a Pirate Network that streams the programming out to the web. We intend to train an Indonesian colleague to place language programming up as pod casts. This site would be promoted in literature drops and with stickers (some placed in cybercafés) people could go to the site. In a more developed strategy, web boards could be set up similar to the Thai model.
As part of the Thai research we sent out a questionnaire – one of the questions related to where and with whom they listen to NTL. If listener #L1 normally listened to NTL with colleagues, #L2-5, we have a naturally forming listener group. Given the right incentives, #L1 could become a discussion leader and advocate for the program. This type of listener grouping has worked with secular prosocial soaps in the past. In our context, this could “evolve” from a listener group, to a Bible study to worshiping group.