The JESUS Film Project is dead, long live the Jesus Film Project. — February 2016

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The JESUS Film Project(s?)

What happens after a few decades of good ideas built on good ideas, led by entrepreneurial people who love new things? An organization that looks a little like the image at the beginning of this update.

All of these logos, all of the “organizations” fit under the larger umbrella of The JESUS Film Project… and there are at least a half-dozen more that I can think of off-hand. But, just like our house after opening all of our kids’ Christmas gifts, the questions start to be asked, “How does this all fit under one roof? How do we remember where everything goes? Wait, whose is this?! Where did this even come from?


So, in the past months, I’ve been a part of two projects. First, a complete rebranding for The JESUS Film Project, and a major update to – both will be released publicly on April 15. In our recent all-staff meeting, our director, Erick Shenkel shared some amazing vision for JFP’s future mission and effectiveness.

  • We currently have 1,392 translations, pushing toward 2,000.
  • Along with our partner ministries, every people group on Earth could be engaged with the Gospel by the end of 2018.
  • By 2025, we, along with partnership ministries that are a part of the Global Alliance for Church Multiplication, plan to plant 2.7 million churches worldwide. (560,000 have already been planted since 2010.)
  • These churches could potentially reach 2.7 billion people.
  • Cru/CCCI’s mission plan is to develop 10+ million multiplying disciples by 2020, and to reach 1 billion people in 1 million new people groups.
  • More than 1.3 billion people worldwide will likely be reached with the Gospel only through digital resources.
  • The next generation of church leaders will receive their practical and theological training through the internet. The JESUS Film Project is leading the charge at providing the infrastructure and resources.

I am excited to help create more and more effective strategies and tools to reach everyone, so that everyone can see, hear, and follow Jesus, no matter where they are in the world!

Pray that the next few months of preparation for the brand rollout would go smoothly, and that I would be able to engage with it as much and as well as possible as we also prepare for the “rollout” of our new son toward the end of February!

JESUS DVDs for Refugees – December 2015

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On the Road…

Imagine it. Days and days on the bumpy road. Walking or riding if there’s a seat to be had. She misses her home. Why were the occupiers doing this, making it so they had to travel like this? It would be difficult either way, but for a young first-time mother, late in her pregnancy, it feels almost impossible. She’s glad that she doesn’t have more children to bring with her. She saw others on the way who had 5 or more, ­bringing them all along because they had to. It’s good to have her husband with her to help with the aches and cramps. She’s so glad that their hosts found some place to rest her head and body even if the place is dirty, cramped, or smells bad.

Perhaps her name is Mary, or Maryam. Or, perhaps it’s Yana, Sara, Bana, Jazeera, or Amena. Perhaps her husband’s name is Joseph, or Yosef, or Anas, Yaman, Sayid, or Mohammed.

Over the past few months, the refugee crisis in Syria has been all over the news. Even more after the terrorist attacks in Paris. It is, without a doubt, an important and complex issue for policymakers to decide from a political angle. But let’s put the politics aside, for those of us who follow Jesus, we clearly have a mandate to do something to care for those who are fleeing for their lives, to care for the “widows and orphans.”

“The Lord watches over the strangers…” — Psalm 146:9

In September, I (Jayson) started to work on a partnership project for Agape (Campus Crusade for Christ’s European ministry) to distribute a half-million DVDs to refugees settling around Europe.

Many of the refugees have brought their modern smart phones from their now invaded or destroyed homes. For most, this is their only portal to the outside world. Their only way to learn what is going on back in Syria. The album that holds only photos they have of their family & friends.

So, in addition to water, food, medicine, and shelter, Agape is work with other groups to bring reliable WiFi to refugee camps and ­communities. But, no refugees arrive with a DVD player. So why make DVDs? Because DVD players are one of the first things they buy when they get settled, and these aren’t just DVDs.

One of the covers I was able to put together.

One of the covers I was able to put together.

Using the improving skills that I’m getting in school, I designed inserts that also provide information for three websites. First, for the Jesus Film ­Media page where they can download the app, or watch the films in their own language, and then two more sites where they can read about Jesus.

This is my first time designing something intended for an audience in another culture completely. There were issues of which green, or yellow to print, which Arabic script to use, and even getting Adobe Illustrator to display some of the languages from right-to-left like they should be. Ultimately, I was able to provide a piece that we pray will be a catalyst for thousands to meet their Savior.

Pray that refugees around Europe would receive what Jesus is offering them: Good news to the poor, release for the captives, sight to the blind, freedom for the oppressed.

Go to for more!



Very Non-Hypotheticals – September 2015 #2

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The Mission Leaves the Nest

Don’t get me wrong; I still LOVE campus ministry – where else can you find arguably the most influential 1% of the world’s population, clumped within a few square miles, pulling all-nighters, seeking truth and discovering themselves? It’s a four-year worldview generator, super-charged by stress, transition and close community.

But there comes a time for every student when the Qualified Expert no longer blocks out life for you in 12‑week increments, and the Midnight Pancake Breakfast is no longer a viable way to reach your friends. You have the Holy Spirit, you have His mission, and you have to create your own adventure.

This fall, I had the privilege of meeting with a group of UCF Cru’s senior women to start exploring what their legacy will look like as life starts to change. Lord willing, next week, I will get to start a similar conversation with some on the other side of the cap and gown.

I wish I could tell you I am a confident expert at sharing Jesus and making disciples in the context of twenty-first century adult life. I am certainly NOT. However, I am a “professional” in that I have made it my job in this season to live in the ambiguity of what most of our Cru alumni will face sooner or later.

Very Non–Hypothetical

This said, I think the best way to invite you to pray for us is to show you some of the actual, very non-hypothetical questions I have personally asked this month within the context of friendship:

  • Under what conditions do you hand your car keys to a neighbor in need, and do you tell your husband before or after?
  • How much meat do you buy for a cookout when anywhere between 4 and 30 may come?
  • Is there something inherently wrong with a guinea pig in a worship service?

Fia & Cai playing with my phone

How many of hours of screen time, or missed naps for the kids are worth it for the sake of ministry?

  • How do disability checks actually work?
  • Is it ok to ask a serious question about their anxiety and/or depression via text message?
  • How do you explain to a friend that you are willing help them with groceries, but not pet food or cigarettes?
  • How many times do you continue to hire the sweet neighbor girl to babysit during small group even though she’s forgotten or been late ¾ of the time?
  • What kinds of social outings will even work for a family with an autistic child?
  • How much baby snot is socially acceptable? How often must you disinfect toys?
  • How do you host summer holiday parties in Florida when every afternoon is either sweltering or storming?
  • Do you tell the neighbor lady that her son smokes pot every day?
  • How many hours, dollars, holidays can you give to your family and friends back home and still have enough left to be good friends where you live?
  • How normal does your dinner have to be to offer to feed someone?
  • How unusual do someone’s dietary needs have to be for you not to offer to feed them?
How do you get meaningful conversation with a friend who has totally opposite hours as you and a toddler whose bedtime is 3 am?
  • How many weeks in a row do you cancel other plans to make time for the friends who keep flaking on you anyway?
  • How many weeks in a row do you entertain the friends who stop by on your family’s only free night?
  • How do you recognize the signs of heroin use?
  • What is the threshold of birthday parties/showers can you attend without hating life?
  • Is there a socially acceptable way to tell your friend you are pretty sure they are lying to you?
  • Is it ok to reference your friends in your prayer letter, even though they might find it on the internet?

We don’t bring you into this because our life is special or edgy, but because chaos and questions seem to be the norm as we press out of our bubble into the lives of others. And apart from our Lord who speaks to the waves, we only panic like the disciples in the boat. Please pray that we will be a Spirit-led blessing to our friends and neighbors, a practical help to recent Cru alumni, and humble enough to know our limits!

And now some pictures from the summer…


Reentry, Remembering, Leaning In – September 2015 #1

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It feels like we just got back to Orlando, from our month-and-more on the road to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and back – it turns out it was more than a month ago! We hit the ground at full-speed. Family in town, friends visiting, my 35th birthday, our 11th anniversary, Carrie’s planning meetings for campus, getting put on three major projects at work, 1st trimester (Wait, did we mention that we’re expecting again!?), Fia & Cai starting preschool & daycare, deacons’ board meetings, 9 credits worth of college classes…

It’s no different than the craziness that many of you live in, but we’ve just barely been able to reflect on the fire hose of exhortation and encouragement we tried to sip from at our biennial National Staff Conference in Ft. Collins.


This was, without a doubt, the most challenging conference we’ve been to. The focus was surrounding the idea of being TOGETHER in four specific ways: Proclaiming His Name, Diversity And Oneness, Entrusting His Mission To Others, and The Whole World.

Being together to proclaim Jesus’ name and being together for the whole world were the easy ones, its who Cru has always been, it’s what we do.

The tension and discomfort were tangible, with a lot of nervous fidgeting (or rutching, if you’re from central PA) when we started to talk about ethnic diversity, how we could engage with #BlackLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter, inherited privileges or struggles that tend to be tied to one’s race, and how do our inherited or inherent differences make Jesus’ prayer that we would “all be one” and His encouragement that we would be known “by [our] love for one another” so much harder, and so much more beautiful – and worth it!

Thinking these issues dredges up a lot of emotions: guilt, defensiveness, hurt, dismissiveness, and more. I know it did in CSU’s Moby Arena while we were there – and in my own heart. And then I’m reminded, over and over (and over, and over) of these words from Philippians…

[Jesus] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant… Philippians 2:6-7

Lean In

In all of this – school, mission, family, church, life, reconciliation, difficult conversations – I keep feeling that the Lord is saying, over and over:

“Lean in. Lean into the conversations. Lean into the work. Lean into the relationships. Lean into Me.”

Thank you for being a part, a vital part, of what He continues to put in front of us! We’d even invite you to join in the conversations, and the journey. Head over to, and watch some of the videos. I’ll even try to post some of the videos with thoughts on our site soon.


Social Media Snippets

I wanted to share some of the images, quotes, and tweets from Cru15 in response to many of the talks. I’ll be posting links to some of the videos with my thoughts on them pretty soon.

I sent out a selection of 27 of them in total in our paper newsletter, if you want to see all of them, head to our Cru15 Social Media page.

Dive Into CRU15