In what ways must the success of the Christ in Media Institute depend on contributions from the discipline of Psychology?
by Dr. Jennifer Wosmek
The Christ in Media Institute involves human behavior - humans who seek to spread the Gospel message. Psychology is often defined as the scientific study of human behavior. The application of this knowledge in the context of the Christ in Media Institute stands to impact the behavior of those individuals directly involved in the Institute, those trained by the Institute, and those who are the target of any materials that are a product of the Institute. Psychology's accumulation of knowledge regarding the developmental lifespan perspective and Psychology's contribution to the creation and advancement of research methods amenable to the systematic study of human behavior are but two of many ways I can foresee the discipline of Psychology benefiting the Institute.
- Developmental lifespan perspective.To have the greatest impact, training provided by the Institute must take into consideration the biological, social, and cognitive-behavioral changes that occur throughout the lifespan. Knowledge of these changes will help the Institute train others to develop evangelical materials that take them into account. For example, knowledge of how the senses take in and process information can directly assist in the development of means to transmit the Gospel message. Also, Psychology has made significant contributions to what is known about gender differences. Because an individual's experience in life occurs in a body created by God as a man or woman, knowledge of these differences will further enhance the creation of evangelical materials. Training that includes a life-span/gender perspective encourages the development of evangelical materials that connect with the audience on a personal level and also increases the likelihood such materials will be widely disseminated.
- Research methods.Psychologists have led the effort to create and advance research methods appropriate for examining human behavior. Utilizing such methods increases the likelihood of efficient use of time and effort on behalf of all those involved with the Institute. For example, the use of research methodology could help the Institute identify key spiritual needs within a given community, develop measurable goals for training and materials, and inform the creation of generalizable training materials (i.e., materials that are generalizable over time, individuals, and across settings). Finally, the use of such methodology will help the Institute evaluate the degree to which it is meeting its goals and identify opportunities to increase the ability of the Institute to inform, train and inspire individuals to spread the Gospel message through technology.
Given that the goal of the Institute is to help spread the Gospel message, psychological aspects are at play at every level of the organization. The Psychology Department at Bethany is willing to serve in whatever capacity necessary to enable the Institute to succeed in its mission.