Nearly 30 years after "The Jesus Film's" debut, the ministry that created the most translated movie in history is working to develop more sophisticated tools to reach western and highly developed countries.
"We are going to make probably more effort because we don't have the equipment, tools and resources that are really speaking well to the first world and the media sophisticated, the U.S. and Europe," said Greg Gregoire, senior associate at The Jesus Film Project, to The Christian Post.
"So we are going to spend a little more focus on developing tools that work there," he said, noting countries and cities such as Berlin, Singapore, and Los Angeles.
Since "The Jesus Film" debuted in English on Oct. 19, 1979, it has been translated into 1,055 languages and has been seen by more than 6 billion people from every country in the world. Out of the billions of people that have seen the film, there are a recorded 225 million that have indicated a decision for Christ.
The Jesus Film Project is a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, International, one of the world's largest nonprofit, interdenominational organizations. Although the film began as a ministry tool for CCC, it has now been accepted by many groups in the body of Christ as their primary evangelistic tool, Gregoire pointed out. More than 1,500 Christian organizations are using the film to share the Gospel.
In addition to "The Jesus Film," the ministry in recent years has created derivative products from the film to respond to the need of churches. Some of the products include a film made for children that answers questions only kids would ask, and a movie about Jesus told through the eyes of Mary Magdalena.
The film "Magdalena: Released from Shame," released last year, has received strong positive support from women around the world. It has been shown in parts of the world where women face discrimination because of their gender to communicate to oppressed women that there is a man who cares for them and wants to extend dignity to them.
In the short time since it debuted, Magdalena has been translated into over 40 languages with another 50 translations in progress.
The ministry is also currently working with other groups to produce a new version of "The Jesus Film." Gregoire noted that the film is 30 years old and does not "compete" well in the market place.
Furthermore, the ministry has recently produced several short films to reach out to youths who are not interested in watching or talking about Jesus, but are typically interested in discussing films. The short six- to seven-minute films are meant to initiate conversations about spirituality.
There are also plans for an anime version of "The Jesus Film."
The ministry does not plan to hold any special events to mark the 30th anniversary of the film's debut, according to Gregoire. Instead, staffs will gather for the biannual meeting this summer to pray and remember what God has used the ministry for over the years.