Inquiring Torchlighters fans always want to know: “Who is the next Torchlighter?” Choosing our next hero from our long list of excellent suggestions is a decision our team takes very seriously. Let’s take a look behind the curtain and find out how Torchlighters are selected.
One of our goals is variety: we try to introduce boys and girls alike to different eras of history, different types of Christian work, and even different global settings. We look for stories that include children in some way. A bit of humor is also a big plus! But most importantly, we look for heroes whose stories will have a lasting impact on kids today.
With that in mind, here are the five qualities every Torchlighter must have:
- A genuine Christian faith – The most important quality of every Torchlighter hero is professed Christian faith lived out in tangible ways. They follow Jesus with their whole hearts and lives! When Eric Liddell forgoes fame and fortune to follow his convictions or Perpetua trusts God to care for her child even as she faces certain death, we see faith lived out in tangible ways.
- A lasting legacy – We choose heroes who’ve left a lasting legacy either in the church or on the mission field. Some heroes are more well-known than others, but each has an impact that endures in some way. It’s hard to say which Torchlighter has left the most lasting legacy, but Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and Augustine’s contributions to theology are certainly on the short list. Less well-known is Samuel Morris, who inspired countless missionaries to Liberia and also helped right the course of Taylor University.
- An exciting story – Our primary audience is children ages 8–12. With that in mind, we look for stories that have a lot of action and excitement. Long-time fans know we sometimes include more details from secondary characters in order to help our audience relate to the hero; this is an intentional choice to keep kids engaged. Children can relate more readily to Amy Carmichael when they see this mother to the motherless through the eyes of a child she rescued. Harriet Tubman—whose faith urged her to brave the Underground Railroad time and again to rescue enslaved African Americans—is another episode packed with action.
- A relatable hero – Torchlighters are ordinary human beings who accomplish extraordinary things in the course of following Jesus. Just like the rest of us, they struggle sometimes. We don’t shy away from showing their doubts alongside their profound faith in Jesus because we think that makes them even more relatable. John Wesley’s struggle for faith is a wonderful example of a hero whose doubts ultimately led to conviction.
- Faith that perseveres – Torchlighter heroes face challenges with prayer and confidence in a God whose plans are always bigger than ours. They turn to Jesus in times of doubt and trouble, which is a lesson we all can hear over and over! When Corrie ten Boom thanks Jesus for the fleas in the concentration camp or George Müller thanks God for food to feed a house filled with orphans in spite of empty cupboards, we see faith that endures hardship.
New episodes of Torchlighters are announced first on our Facebook page—follow us there to stay up to date! Meanwhile, you can find all 19 heroes on our website, including many bonus materials to use in a variety of settings.