Being on the leading edge of the adoption of transformative technologies is really nothing new for the faith community. Throughout history, the faith community has always adopted and leveraged new technologies to communicate their message. Gutenberg’s development of moveable type printing in 1450 led to the Bible being available to the masses and led directly to the Protestant Reformation and a stunning increase in literacy.
The advent of radio led to a new era of mass communication and the faith community leveraged the technology to effectively reach out and spread the Word. In fact, some of the religious programs that began in the heyday of radio are still being broadcasted today, such as The Lutheran Hour and Billy Graham’s Hour of Decision.
In the early days of television, Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s program Life is Worth Living was so popular that he gave Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra a run for their money and he won an Emmy for Most Outstanding Television Personality. By the 1960s, there were innovative churches in every television market that effectively used television to reach out beyond the walls of the church.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church has noted that the adoption of transformational communications technologies has always preceded a period of significant growth in the church. Warren said:
When Jesus gave the Great Commission, it was physically impossible at that time to do. Every time God’s Word is put into new technology, the Gospel has spread further and further.
Some of the earliest adopters of digital media technology in the early 2000s were also those in the global faith community. This community continues to help drive the forward motion of the technology today. Visionary leaders in the faith community saw digital media’s distinct advantages in overcoming some of the major limitations of traditional television media.
Now in the internet age, there are even more digital media tools that can be used with a level of interactivity that was not possible before. The tools and opportunities are nearly endless for those who adopt newer technologies. Globally people are connecting through smart phones, computers and tablets more than ever before. How can your ministry connect and reach more people in a seamless way?
Here are few solutions you can get your ministry positioned where you can share Christ’s message to the maximum amount of people.
1. If you are sharing a church service – expand your reach through live streaming.
God puts the message on your heart to deliver to those inside of the four walls of your church. You can use today’s technology to spread the message beyond those four walls – essentially turning your local outreach to a global mission. It is not difficult to create broadcast quality online video that people can connect to instantly through the internet. Even more, you can have your services stream live or on-demand into every living room through the use of a Roku app. Let’s leverage technology for God’s greater good.
2. Give people a chance to see God’s message on a daily basis – engage through mobile apps.
You know people use cell phones – but what you may not know is how much they use them. A recent study by Church Mobile demonstrated that by 2017 over half of all internet traffic will be conducted through cell phones or tablet devices. Of those people 80% of them are already using their devices to access apps. The obvious point is that if your church doesn’t have a mobile app, you are already falling behind the times. Your mobile app can help you grow the ministry through digital donations, daily devotionals, inform followers of special services or message series. The options and possibilities in how you share your message through a mobile device is only limited to how God is calling you to share.
3. Grow your church – create stronger relationships with social media.
Social media in the form of Facebook and Twitter and other popular networks have been around for while – but some ministries have only begun to use them as an excellent vehicle to share:
- The opinions and thoughts of a message series in real time
- Updates of conferences or special events
- Sharing lessons learns or wisdom gleaned from bible studies or Sunday school breakout sessions
- Spreading God’s Word to the world by interacting online
Digital technologies are changing the way we share – but it’s nothing new. Since the great commission, we’ve been called to utilize what resources we have to let others know about God’s saving grace. We can be very effective in sharing that message by implementing what tools are available today.
How can churches benefit from streaming services and allowing more access to their content?