Clear and Simple Media Featured in Converge IM Publication
The following is an article featured in the Converge IM ‘Global Link’ publication from April 28, 2021.
Ministry Specialist Team // Tom and Lee Castor
As part of the organizational structure of IM,teams were created that would supply global support to all the regions. One of those teams is the Ministry Specialist Team. As described by Specialist Team leader Carl Lahr, the Ministry Specialist Team is “a group primarily made up of seasoned ministry veterans that can provide equipping and coaching to help catalyze gospel movements among least-reached people groups.” Tom and Lee Castor are a part of that team.
Tom and Lee came to Converge International Ministries in 2018 from our sister organization, BGC Canada. Since 2013, they had led an International Church planting team in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Before moving to Vietnam, Tom had traveled to Vietnam on multiple occasions with a team from Canadian Baptist Seminary. He had been involved in the training of “underground church” leaders there.
“While in Vietnam in 2005,” Tom said, “a national leader asked if I would provide his leaders with a tool to help the churches teach new believers and prepare pastors for ministry. The material would need to be clear and easily, accurately translated for the six language groups that made up the churches.”
For the next year, Tom assembled material to build a basic catechism to fulfill that request. The result was Simple Truths for the New Believer. The book was published and translated into Vietnamese and several tribal languages. At that point, the Castors thought that the project might be finished. But then, as Lee puts it, “The little book escaped.”
The “little book” has been translated into 47 languages and is in use in 40 countries with over 600,000 in print and distribution. Soon after the first project, now under the banner Clear and Simple Media, Tom would write three more simple English books: Simple Stories, Travel Guide to the Bible, and the most recent, Simple Answers to Not So Simple Questions.
“Some of our work fits into the category of Scripture engagement, as we seek to help people read the Bible and help them understand what they read. That is why we write books and tell stories in simple English. We use this style because it is easy to translate and difficult to mistranslate. Writing in a way that scores high on the ‘translatability’ scale gives more people access to the material. Our goal is to build a growing catalog of materials that are linguistically simple, theologically clear and biblically faithful.”
Tom and Lee do consulting, translation project management, orality and story development training, and teach writing for a global audience. As the mandate of the Specialist Team is to be a resource to both Converge International Ministries personnel and our national partners, all of the Clear and Simple Media material is available online for download at no cost on one of the three delivery websites that the Castors manage.