Worth a Thousand Words

The intentional choices that have defined and refined GRN’s visual resources

The heart and soul of Global Recordings Network’s ministry is audio recordings that tell the story of Jesus. But whenever possible, GRN offers culturally appropriate visuals to complement the audio recordings via pocket booklets, handheld books,  oversized flip charts, and digital formats for projection or slideshows.

While these visuals may seem outdated or perhaps even childish at first glance, extensive research has gone into developing these images to serve a wide variety of cultures.

Here’s a look into just some of the intentional choices that have shaped these key ministry tools:

■ Deliberately simple, the uncluttered pictures concentrate viewer attention on key elements of the story.

■ High-contrast colors and thick outlines help viewers clearly identify objects and people. This also makes them useful even in low-light conditions such as around a campfire or in a dimly lit hut. Colors are carefully selected to avoid cultural misunderstandings.

■ Missionaries in the field discovered that some viewers did not realize that the rest of a figure existed behind a foreground object, which led to unusual beliefs and questions about disembodied spirits and ghosts. So when an illustration includes people, you will almost always see complete figures whose bodies are unobstructed by other elements in the image.

■ Some research indicates that people are able to reproduce black-and-white line drawings from memory more easily than images with colors. But when asked, people almost always respond that they prefer colorful imagery. GRN makes sets of both black-and-white and colorful images available for missionaries to use at their discretion.

If this style doesn’t seem like fine art to you, that’s intentional, too. Every culture has its own artistic traditions and expectations — and these illustrations are thoughtfully crafted to be received as educational images, not works of art.

GRN is indebted to the artists and missionaries who have championed the development of these illustrations in the past and present. For oral communicators around the world — those who cannot read or may not even have a written language — GRN’s visual aids and recordings are essential tools to access the truths of God’s Word. ■

Might our visual aids help you tell the story of Jesus in every language? To learn more about our recordings and products, or to inquire about how we can support your unique ministry needs, call our Orders Department at 888.444.7872.

Listen to a missionary named Ian explain how helpful it was to have a GRN flipchart on his short-term mission trip to Asia.

Read “More than Pictures or DIY-VBS” for more information.


The late Graham Wade of Sydney, Australia did the original line drawings for picture sets to accompany GRN’s three core programs: Good News; Look, Listen, and Live; and The Living Christ. Helen (Johnstone) Gemeren did the original color work, as well as re-coloring them for digital use years later.