Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

15 June 2009

Live interactive Church... Thy Kingdom Come?

Ever have those technological encounters where it feels like you're living in "The Jetsons"? I'm JUST old enough that I'm still somewhat in awe of what we can do in our world these days.

Last night we experimented with live-streamed interactive church at Freedom House for our annual Conference, this year called "Kingdom Come" happening last night, tonight and tomorrow. We had UStream... Twitter... Facebook... Blog... online chat's... all interwoven together as the meeting was going on.

What it practically meant was me setting up a terminal with my Sony Vaio at the back of the room and remotely controlling a camera while updating and interacting online with the nearly 200 people who passed through our little webcast last night. We took live polls, one showing that around 70% of the viewers had never been to Freedom House before. We connected with, and prayed for, friends... people in Pennsylvania, around Canada, Brantford and beyond saying... "we're here around an altar with some folks who'd love to have faith to contend for what's going on in your life". Some sought us out... and some we sought out. Some cool interaction and prayer really.

As a broadcasting student and a culture-nut... the philosophy behind Christian television always seemed to have a disconnect and a few unconnected dots, because the communication is too often unidirectional. The philosophy was always, "We must find a way to get The Message to where people are... and people aren't coming to church. They are in their homes... and TV gets into their homes." And that's a solid line of evangelical Kingdom rational. Really... it's ALL good.

But in my Christian TV experience... I've found there is a potential snare in doing something where there is no human connection. When I would actually talk with people on Nite Lite Live, many said they didn't go to church or have Christian friends because they watch Christian TV for their teaching. But there is no relationship... interaction... or even POTENTIAL for a second step. You can't pop by a TV studio for coffee.

I wrote my 3rd Year College Thesis about the state of Christian broadcasting around the globe and the need for "Next Step". It's conclusion was about the need for a way for media to connect to a real place with real people who could care and offer community, relationship, accountability... a follow-up discussion. The needs to be a way for a continuing interaction.

Last night I got a peek into a synthesis of technology, culture, communications and a life changing God that COULD really do some damage in advancing the Kingdom of God. Taking "The Message" to a place where a broader-scope of ears are listening in forum where interaction is facilitated... with a connection to a place of community and love. Like it or not... the positive impact that last summer's Lakeland explosion was (and continues to be) felt around the world because of the power of God combined with strategic communication.

This social media thing is FAR from perfect... and many don't like it. There are parts I don't like either! But who cares? Brother Christian... you're supposed to be a lump of clay. Many people don't like me either! People are different and God's not willing that ANY perish. It's just another tool that falls under Paul's description of evangelism in 1 Corinthians 9 19-22

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

That said... a webcast is no substitute for being in room full of worshipers. And honestly... sitting at a computer typing on Twitter and UStream made it so I (
personally) didn't fully engage myself in the on-goings of the night. But who cares?? The message of the cross (and Freedom House's little moto) is essentially "Get Free... Live Free... Free Others". In North America, there are many who Jesus would see as that sheep that wandered away from the flock. People who have given up on their faith. Jesus goes out of His way to find those people. He leaves the 99 to find the 1.

I'm not entirely sure than in God's desire to see "The Message" go to the ends of the earth... the personal preferences of the sheep already in the barn, plays much of a role. We need to be sacrificial, wise, intentional, strategic and humble to really see what we (and He) desires to see.

Love to see you tonight or tomorrow either in person at the Freedom House City Center at 7pm or online. In fact I'll even embed the live feed right here at Big Ear Creations too. Interesting days we live in friends. Like the Jetson's sometimes.

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