Media Messages that Matter
by Cheryl Wilson-Bridges
I love going to church. I enjoy the meaningful fellowship and the time of worship when I join with my church family and we can collectively express our adoration to God. While I have my private devotion daily, as a worship pastor getting to church is the climax of my week. In my heart and mind, all roads lead to the sanctuary. I find myself excited, eager, energized, and sometimes even a bit anxious while I contemplate going into God’s House. I think this may be true for most worship leaders. But isn’t it interesting that while we are thinking about going in, God often tells His people to get out.
In Genesis, we find Abram at home and comfortable in the city of Haran. Abram and his wife Sarai lived with his father Terah (Gen.11:31). Then God said, “Get out.” God told Abram to get out of his country and leave everything he had to go live in a place that was unfamiliar. God sent Abram out with a blessing for his family and future generations (Gen. 12:1-3). He had to leave and live among the heathen nations to realize God’s promise. God promised to bless him, his family, and his descendants around the world (Gen.15:5). Abram became a nomad so that generations of people who didn’t know God, would be blessed. In the future, God would change his name to symbolize that Abraham and all his descendants would receive the promise. The Gentile nations would also be blessed by his influence, his faith, and his lifestyle of worship obedience to the One True God. Abraham’s faith in God’s ability to use him mightily was counted to him as righteousness (Gen.15:6)
You see, we bless ourselves when we stay in, but it is only when we get out that we can bless others. Jesus understood this principle and used it to train his disciples. Jesus sent them out. He sent his disciples out to the lost sheep of Israel to preach about the Kingdom of Heaven and heal (Matt.10: 5-8). In ancient times, getting out required a lot of strength and stamina. You had to be able to walk hundreds of miles and endure unspeakable hardships. You had to go hungry or thirsty and depend on the generosity of others to sustain you. You had to be brave and exhibit huge amounts of courage to face the unknown. Your message had to have passion and power so that others would accept God’s teachings. This was not an easy task, but these ancient men accepted the challenge to make their messages matter. They did it against all odds. The blessings not only changed the lives of people in their times, but we are still reaping these benefits today. We are the generations that receive the promise of blessing that God made to Abraham.
But today, we have a much easier task. We can get out without leaving our loved ones, without unspeakable hardships, trials, or tribulations. We can get out to spiritual seekers with the click of a mouse and with the touch of a keypad. Instead of walking, we can leave a digital footprint. We can speak to the masses through media messages that matter. Today, we can use technology to promote theology. So as a worship leader, you must be able to focus beyond the music. You should be committed to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ beyond the walls of your church into your community and around the world.
Our knowledge and usage of technology are critical to communicating with a society that sees the church’s role diminishing. George Barna, church research expert shares, “Many industries and sectors of culture are undergoing tremendous change as digital tools and other factors are leading many to renegotiate their relationships with institutions. Along with everyone else, pastors—and their role in a culture of growing religious skepticism—are being impacted by these changes. Pastors once held a position of esteem in the public eye, but people are renegotiating their relationships with spiritual authority. Pastors historically mediated the transmission of knowledge to spiritual seekers, but now people consult Twitter, search Google, or ask Siri.”1
Therefore, we need to employ modern methods. We should use the digital tools that are prevalent in our churches to reach spiritual seekers in a meaningful way. Two hours of church each week is certainly not enough for anyone to grow in their spiritual walk. So it is our responsibility to aid the pastor. We can promote worship ministry through creative media methods that reach far beyond the walls of worship.
4 Ways to Produce Media Messages that Matter
Here are 4 Ways You Can Reach the Masses:
Digital Bible Study
We all have busy lives. So I use digital Bible studies often to work with my Bible students. There are many excellent and easy Bible studies guides that can be retrieved online. Depending on the spiritual maturity of the individual, you can find a study tailor-made to their particular needs. However, before sending a digital Bible study link out to a friend, make sure you have read it yourself. That way you are familiar with the contents if questions arise. This is a great way to involve friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors in your church at their convenience. Do the Bible study together and watch God work in both your lives
On-Demand Worship Services and Podcasts
Most of our churches have live-streaming during the service. Many will archive services for on-demand viewing. Since we are always actively involved in worship leading, we may miss significant portions of the service. I find on-demand worship viewing is an excellent way of refilling my spiritual well with worship after church ends. View the services yourself and then share the links with your family and friends. Let them know key areas in the worship service that may be moving and impactful. Since most services tend to be over an hour long you may want to specify by time stamps area for them to watch. This is an excellent way to share the Gospel.
Prayer Requests through Email and Websites
So many people need prayer and will request it from you. We offer to pray for others but many times we just don’t actually do it. While society may be less likely to attend church, prayer still holds a prominent place in their hearts. Creating safe spaces on your social media or website for prayer requests and praise reports allows people to connect in a meaningful way. Research has shown that while Christians are becoming much less spiritual, prayer is still important. Barna states, “Prayer and Bible reading remains the most important and commonly practiced spiritual disciplines among practicing Christians. A growing anti-institutional sentiment coupled with a broader secularizing trend has caused an overall decline in church attendance among the general population.”2 Turn your prayers and praises into posts and watch the people of God unite in power.
Social Media – YouTube Channel, Facebook Page
Many people share that they are moved by certain aspects of a worship service. It may be the music, sermon, children’s story, video sequences, intercessory prayer etc. Each area of worship can be very impactful. Create YouTube channels or Facebook pages to upload various elements of your worship service that can affect others. You can also use social media to keep your members and neighbors informed about community service activities, concerts, mission trips, book clubs, movie nights, Bible study, cooking classes, exercise classes, and much more. Invite your friends to follow your church’s social media page and participate in events. Then see how God uses you and these activities to inspire with media message that attracts the masses to Jesus Christ.
We cannot remain inside the church to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must get out using technology with media messages that will attract and convince spiritual seekers in our community to join the family of God.