I lay on the sofa, my feet up on the end arm rest and my head propped up by heaps of pillows, and surfed the channels of US TV. Eventually I tripped over a Christian channel, where a pastor was being interviewed. Something inside me said “Watch; I’m going to talk to you”.
I sat listening to the live interview, when suddenly the pastor turned to the camera, interrupted his flow and said “and you young man, laying on the sofa in that apartment, with your feet up on the end of the sofa and those pillows behind your head. Listen up; God’s going to speak to you”
I screamed! Images of Noel’s House Party flashed through my mind. Half of me was filled with the fear of God; the other half wanted to look for the hidden cameras!
I sat transfixed for some minutes, and eventually a young women was interviewed. Half way through her interview she began to prophecy; and God spoke to me so powerfully that I will never forget it; in fact I am living today in the good of that God-happening.
The word had been about my role in my local church; but another powerful lesson was also learned that day – the opportunity for God to speak had been afforded to me through the media. I knew that day, that media could be an incredible way to reach in to homes and touch lives with God’s power.
Media in the UK
Now in the UK our image of Christian TV is often over shadowed by an American history of adulterous TV hosts, manipulative money raising tactics and hype filled emotionalism. But an old hero of mine once said “The answer to mis-use is not non-use; but correct use”.
I am convinced that media could be so powerful if Christians were willing to take their stand and use the incredible opportunities that are coming about today in our media driven world. Here are several great reasons why churches should not ignore this time to stretch out into media ministry:
Media Goes Where You Cannot
In these days when door knocking J.W.’s and salesmen are pretty well hated, TV and radio can beam straight into every house or car, and minister God’s love and truth to a suspicious world!
I recently received the following email: “I became a Born Again Christian after listening to UCB Radio. I just want to say I have been listening to your programmes every morning on radio and I think they are really great, really inspiring and they help me to start the day … our youngest daughter is also now saved”.
Isn’t this what it’s all about? Just last Sunday a lady turned up at our church from Leeds. She had been listening to our programming on radio, got saved, and just had to turn up to tell us! Your voice can go places your body can’t go! It can reach out to those in homes, hospitals and cars with the Gospel and provide answers to life’s pain.
Media is Affordable
Never has media ministry been so affordable. The fast pace of technology means prices are continually driven down, and with wise decisions, a church or ministry can set up a television or radio programme to touch potential millions, for a relatively small budget.
It is so satisfying for me to know that every sermon I prepare and preach will not only touch a few hundred lives in our church building, but also be broadcast on the internet. We have listeners from as far a field as Switzerland and Australia, and I just heard today of missionaries on the Honduran Bay Islands, who gather all their friends in their home, to join us for church services. All this for a minuscule budget by comparative standards.
Media Is Global
The call of the church is to “Go into all the world”, but the joy of media means you can also ‘go without going’. Our little internet station has listeners from over 25 nations as widely spread as Japan, South Africa and Russia.
Our own media journey is now also moving from radio to television, a much more difficult and time-consuming means of mission. Yet it has had an exciting effect on our church, as teams of camera-men and women get trained and equipped, a sense of excitement fills the family and funds are raised to cover the broadcast costs. We know this is the time for touching nations through media.
The fast pace of technology development means it is going to be ever easier for churches to embrace the media age. Even today 50% of broadband users will happily watch TV on the internet, which I believe will lead to radical development of TV stations on-line, for a fraction of the cost of classical TV. I know of one ministry that even today has over 28,000 viewers on-line at any one time. Could you swell your congregation to that size simply by media technology?
Christian ministries are fighting for, and winning DAB licenses for radio. Could Christian radio stations criss-cross our nation with a patchwork of God-filled broadcasting?
We must join the media revolution that is swamping the globe and take our places as salt and light in the world of broadcasting. After all, have you ever wondered how “every eye will see Him” when He returns? Perhaps it was a hint at the global potential of TV in the future.