Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

About Global Recordings Network

What's your mission all about?

We aim to effectively communicate the truth of God's word to oral communicators and minority people groups by means of recordings made in their own languages, so that they can become disciples of Jesus Christ.

How many languages are there?

No-one really knows for sure, and it depends on what you count. The Ethnologue (produced by SIL) identifies 6,912 living written languages. However, when dealing with "mother tongue" audio communication, different dialects and other variations of language need to be counted separately. Even accent can affect the receptivity of a recording.

Some estimates have been made of over 13,000 different speechforms. In GRN we use a 'ball park' figure of about 12,000 languages and dialects. We have made recordings in over 6,000 of these.

What do you do?

We make recordings of basic Bible stories and Bible teaching in thousands of languages - and ultimately every language on the planet - for evangelistic and discipling purposes. We also produce simple audio-visual programmes (CDs or other media with picture books) designed to help people, especially for people who do not read or write and those from oral cultures, understand the basic message and teaching of the Bible. In addition we manufacture special purpose playback machines such as our Saber hand wind mp3 player that are not dependent on a power supply. All these materials are supplied to missionaries and local evangelists, pastors and teachers, and also distributed by our own teams around the world.

Where do you work?

We have operational centres, bases and agencies in over 40 countries. Recordings have been made in and supplied to virtually every country in the world. Our centres and bases are usually operated by local personnel. As our priority is on the small, often neglected people groups, we aim to go to even the most remote people if necessary.

Why do you do what you do?

There are several reasons.

  1. Hundreds of small people groups have little or no Bibles, New Testaments or portions available in their mother tongue.
  2. Two thirds of the world's people do not read, or do not read well enough to make use of a Bible or Scripture portion, even if they exist in their language.
  3. Many of these people are part of "oral societies" where, important information is communicated in a variety of oral and dramatic forms and where printed material is not highly valued.
  4. The Scriptures promise that there will be some from every nation tribe and language around His throne at the end.
  5. God, through his word the Bible, commands us to proclaim the Good News to all people and to make disciples in all nations.

Do the objectives vary from project to project or country to country?

We encourage our recordists to study their 'targeted' people group to identify their particular needs (especially spiritual) and the most relevant materials for addressing those needs. They also aim to understand the best way to communicate the message using stories, songs or some other style. We are also always attempting to do a more thorough and effective job at providing appropriate resources to each people group. This also includes evaluation of previously recorded languages where possible.

Who uses the materials?

After recordings have been made and tested, often our own teams will go back to the place where the recordings were done to distribute them and to do whatever else they can to proclaim the good news. Frequently these teams will work in conjunction with churches, other missions and other missionaries.

The recordings and players are also made available with significant subsidies to missionaries and national churches, pastors and evangelists for them to use in their outreach and discipling ministries.

What technology do you use?

We first started with vinyl records. Cassettes were then the main media for many years. Now audio CD's are the most widely useful media. But our latest emphasis has been getting our recordings onto the billions of mobile phone handsets now in use across the world.

In addition, most of our audio recordings are available for free download from our websites and are then distributed in various methods including locally burned CD's, micro SD cards and bluetooth between mobile phones. For the remotest communities without electricity we suggest our Saber hand wind mp3 playback devices.

About the Recordings

What is the main objective of the GRN recordings?

The main objective is to explain to people in the language and style that best speaks to their hearts, the basic truths of God and the way of salvation. In other words, the materials are useful for evangelism and basic Bible teaching and discipling.

Do they talk about Jesus' ministry and mission?

The "Good News" and "Look, Listen & Live" presentations have extensive material about Jesus' life and ministry. "The Living Christ" presentation focuses exclusively on the life and ministry of Jesus. Many of the scripts in the script library focus on some aspect of Jesus' life and work.

Do they explain God's complete redemptive plan from creation?

The "Good News" presentation gives a brief overview of the Scriptures from creation to Christ. The "Look, Listen & Live" program presents a more thorough set of Bible stories in a chronological and thematic way from Genesis to Acts. Many of the "Words of Life" messages also relate to this topic. All these materials have both evangelistic and teaching purposes.

Do they answer questions on eternal issues?

Many of the messages address matters of life and death, salvation, judgement, heaven and hell in various ways. As these materials are primarily designed for 'oral communicators', the style of presentation is not generally 'sermonic'. Lessons are taught through stories.

Do the messages sow Scripture keys for various needs?

Appropriate scripts are chosen for each language to deal with specific issues such as sickness, death fear of evil spirits etc. The "Good News" presentation also deals very briefly with issues including the Christian family, 'magic', the church and witnessing.

Do the recordings have scripture portions or the entire Bible?

Often we are working in languages where there is no Scripture translated. Where Scriptures have been translated we may record sections or whole books, normally in partnership with another Bible translation agency. We do not generally record the whole New Testament or Bible.

How do the recordings introduce basic Christian doctrines?

In oral societies, Western style doctrinal teaching is often not the best way to teach this material. Bible stories are used to teach about the nature of God, the nature of man, sin, salvation etc. We do not have doctrinal teaching materials in the style of "systematic theology".

Is there a common script for all GRN recordings?

We have a library of scripts in English and a number of other languages. A program with the same name e.g. The "Good News" would cover the same material regardless of the language. So reading the English script will give you a fair idea of what is in the program. However, recordists are encouraged not to get the scripts 'slavishly' translated as that would often result in a very 'wooden' sounding translation. The scripts are aimed to be a foundation for telling the story in another language. At times a standard set of scripts has been widely used in different languages. However, care is needed to ensure that the program is indeed appropriate for the target groups.

How many recordings are made in a language?

This varies quite a lot. Some of the languages recorded many years ago may only have a small amount of material e.g. 15-30 minutes. A very few languages may have 15-20 hours of material. Currently, for a people group with no other resources at all, we may aim to produce 8-10 hours of material over several years. Sometimes a specific resource is produced for a language where other resources are already available.

How long does one recording usually play for?

The "Words of Life" programs are usually made up of a series of short messages and songs. Each message lasts about 4 minutes. A full program would go from 30 to 60 minutes. The "Good News" program averages about 40-50 minutes, although it's longer in some languages. Each of the 8 units of the "Look, Listen & Live" takes about 35-45 minutes. The full English recording for "The Living Christ" takes about 2 hours.

Are recordings broken up into shorter segments?

The "Words of Life" programs can be stopped after each track, which might be a 3-5 minute message or song. The Audio visual presentations can be stopped and discussed after every picture, or after a group of pictures that make up a story e.g. of Noah.

Related information

About GRN - GRN produces audio recordings of Bible teaching in 6504 languages for the least reached language groups of the world

Resources for evangelism and Bible teaching - Global Recordings Network produces audio materials in thousands of languages for evangelism and basic Bible teaching, along with picture books and audio players.

Articles - News and articles from the world of the Global Recordings Network.

Global News - Latest news about the ministry and resources of the Global Recordings Network from around the world.

Orality - Articles about the characteristics of oral societies, and how to communicate the gospel to them.