Q & A: Wayne Pederson

The president of HCJB Global discusses how the evangelistic organization known for shortwave broadcasting is changing in light of new media realities.

Why is HCJB now emphasizing leadership training?

It's taken us 200 years of [Western] missiology to learn this, but we are much more effective in missions by developing leadership among local believers who know the language to produce local media and health-care ministries. They know the culture. Many of them are bivocational missionaries using their skills to meet their financial needs.

How has the economic downturn impacted HCJB?

It's helping us decide what's core to our ministry by having to prioritize and focus. We have to get before the Lord and say, "What's the most urgent? What's the most strategic? What's the highest priority?" So it forces us to focus on our global ends, which are reaching people groups that have never heard, groups with restricted access to the gospel, and mobilizing local believers to participate in global outreach. If it doesn't fit that filter, we don't do it.

How are new technologies affecting evangelism overseas?

Developing countries are where wireless and mobile businesses are investing. These are often the very places where the people are whom we want to reach. So we have to be there, producing content for this new technology. In some countries, it's the Internet. In some countries, it's mobile. In some countries, it's FM. In some countries, it's still shortwave. So that's what has made our job more complicated. God has just placed more tools in our toolbox. In some of the closed countries we work in, two-thirds of our responses come from sms. People don't write a letter or call us or send an e-mail, because it's too dangerous. But they can reply on text messaging. Social media are very cost-effective. I don't know that we followers of Jesus have captured the full potential of this.

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Christianity Today
Q & A: Wayne Pederson
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September 2009

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