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Four Keys To Unleashing the Potential for Digital Media & the Gospel

The discussion of technology and media in ministry is moving into the mainstream. At no point in history has there been a better time to consider integrating technology, media and mission.

Advancements in digital media have opened up unparalleled opportunities.

Digital media opportunities

•  Evangelistic, inspirational and educational content can be delivered to more people, in more places, from more sources than at any time in human history.

•  Groups of individuals can be located, organized, and coordinated to interact with the Bible (www.youversion.com), interact with sermons (www.sermoncloud.com), connect with churches (www.churchcloud.com), connect with ministries and resources (www.gospel.com), and collaborate on mobile-based evangelism (https://mobilev.pbworks.com).

•  Opinions and ideas can be solicited and shared; community created; and partnerships formed across geographical boundaries.

A spectacular untapped reservoir of potential exists for leaders willing to seize the moment.

Here are four keys to unleashing the potential.

1. Prayer. “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.” (Psalm 2:8) No great Christian enterprise starts or advances without prayer. Organize a monthly prayer breakfast. Invite a local or national expert on technology or media to speak.

2. Networking. To contend with the future of a fully connected world, time must be devoted by senior leadership to networking with leaders actively engaged in using technology for kingdom work. Attend technology and media conferences, like Echo, Biola Media Conference, and Internet Media Conference. I find my status quo thinking challenged and imagination stirred at events like these.

3. Collaboration. Once experts have been located, grow and manage a network of peers. Facilitate collaboration and communication. Share knowledge, such as best practices. Whether just getting started with new media or going to the next level, more will be accomplished by learning and working in community.

4. Change. The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave and go to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) In some ways, we all resist change, especially when things are going well. I don’t like changing where I park or sit at church. But without change, growth is impossible.

And, it is impossible to stay where we are and go with God.

For that reason, I believe a willingness to change ones perspective of Cyberspace, and how people are engaged with the gospel in the Digital Age, may be the most important key to taking full advantage of the potential that technology is bringing.

A change in perspective

Twenty years ago, the world outside the Church was describing the nature of Cyberspace in geographical terms. Metaphors like “electronic frontier” and “land of knowledge,” were used. Though few understood what it all meant at the time, leading futurists and thinkers challenged everyone to become a pioneer in the new digital world.

Exploration of that land [Cyberspace] can be a civilization’s truest, highest calling. The opportunity is now before us to empower every person to pursue that calling in his or her own way. This exploration brings both greater opportunity, and in some ways more difficult challenges, than any previous human adventure.

(Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age by Esther Dyson, George Gilder, George Keyworth, and Alvin Toffler, August 1994)

When a global communications network was only an idea, the builders may not have had Jesus or the gospel in mind. God had a different plan. Through the Internet and emerging technologies, God opened a door for communicating His truth to literally everyone on earth.

“The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Mark 12:11)

A change in strategy

Establishing a strong presence in Cyberspace for the gospel will require changing the way things are done.

In his article published in the June/July issue of Lausanne World Pulse, Dr. Dion Forster talks about how digital media is changing, or should change, the way the gospel is shared.

There is no doubt that the geographical movement of Christianity throughout history has radically changed the manner in which the gospel is shared. Each new context presents challenges and opportunities for the gospel and the faith.

What if the next shift in Christendom is not merely a geographical shift, but in fact a shift into cyberspace—a movement of a completely different kind?

Christians, and the Church, in every age have to make some necessary shifts in order to effectively communicate the gospel to a moving population.

Just as Paul’s letters transformed and built the early Church, and the Guttenberg Press transformed the Church around the time of the Reformation, so I believe the Internet, and particularly social media, is challenging us to transform the way in which we engage the world with the love of Jesus.

If Dr. Forster is right, and I believe he is, even now God is calling leaders to change their perspective on global communications; to see the tremendous potential for expanding the kingdom in new ways.

Ultimately, those transitions will enable leaders to move their organizations forward and drive a wave of digital media innovation.

A change of lives

And when the story is told, “all peoples on earth” will have been given the blessing of hearing God’s unchanging word. Then, the full potential for digital media and the gospel will have been realized.

Question: I’ve only listed four. What are some other keys to unleashing the potential for technology and media in ministry?

  • With all the buzz around "social media," it's easy to forget the benefit of research. Not even half a decade ago, we had no Wikipedia or Facebook to speak of. Now if we want to learn more, we just google it or check out someone's profile. Sure, using the Internet for research is so 2003, but it's still one of the primary benefits of being so closely connected.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  • I learned about the Internet from search engines circa 1995. You may have to fact check more closely, and several sources is always good practice, but I'm still a fan of Internet search.