Should we use media to reach out or is it too impersonal?

Declare-His-GloryI have decided to write this as an article because I was surprised to see that many believers disagree. I obviously agree because this message reached you via media, but I used to disagree!

This is a rather personal subject to me because God took me on a journey for a couple of years teaching me and my husband Michael on this subject. What we started to hear from God from Scriptures – yes, from Scriptures, believe it or not – started to shock us, as we never thought that way before. In fact, I was very convinced that TV ministry does not work because it is too impersonal and I was convinced of it.

If you keep a teachable, moldable, humble spirit before God though, and be willing to agree that you don’t know as you thought you knew, you might actually learn something new, something that is the opposite of what you used to believe! So always keep this kind of willing to learn and change your thinking attitude before God, even as you read my article below :-). I am not saying totally trust me, I am saying have a learning, submissive and willing to change attitude towards God as you read what I am saying in order to hear God if He decides to speak to you from my article.

For those who think I am pro-media because love the world and I am wordly, let me share with you my testimony. Before God sent Michael and I to start a TV channel in India we did not have a TV connected to any TV programs in our house for 12 years, basically from the time I got saved. We only used the TV for Christian VHS tapes (at that time) to influence others. We were busy pastoring a church and we did not have time, neither did we want the influence and the spirit coming through the secular media into our house. We stayed totally away from it. I now think one reason God chose us to use media for Christ was partly because media did not have us, we conquered over the wordly aspect of it.

One day I was at a meeting with Carlos Anacondia in Sydney and he shared a story. That was the beginning of God’s work in me. He shared how in Argentina, they were praying under God’s direction that God would give them the media for Christ! One day that prayer was answered in a most dramatic way. There was a big crusade organized in a stadium in his city and was meant to be aired live on one of the not so important local TV channels, at 7 pm at night. One of the most amazing things happened next as they kept on claiming the media for Christ! All the major TV stations had technical difficulties that evening, and did not air! Expect the smaller channel the crusade was broadcasted live! The only thing people could watch in that city at 7 pm that night was the crusade! Since it was live and they saw miracles were happening, people left their homes and went to the crusade, some forgot to change and even landed there in their pajamas in order not to miss it!

Something came alive in me that day. I thought ‘Wow’ God can use media to reach out to people individually in dramatic ways. I still did not have any more than a testimony to based my new faith on, so my faith was in seed form.

Some times after this I went on a missions trip to India, my first short term trip. We were in a more remote village, where no white woman ever was seen, yet when I went for a walk in the village it was teeming with people everywhere! I came back to the pastor’s house where I was staying, feeling utterly overwhelmed, I almost could not breathe freely. I went straight to prayer and I said to God: God!!! How on earth are we to reach sooo many people! When you are dealing with 97% of the population not believing in Christ out of one billion people it feels like you are fighting a loosing race against time. People will die before you can get to them if you go reaching them one by one! BUT GOD answered to me and said: ‘I will show you how you can reach them, you can!” I remember leaving the prayer time rather puzzled because I could not conceive what kind of mighty plan God could create in order to achieve this, it seemed impossible. But I was believing enough to believe that if God spoke, God knows what He is saying and I can trust Him.

He revealed nothing else about the use of media to me during that trip. It took about 2 1/2 more years of slowing speaking to both me and Michael as we were reading the Scriptures. I believe sometimes we can’t hear certain things from God simply because we have a closed opinion on the subject. We read the Bible many times before but never such things as what I am about to reveal jumped at us.

And it’s because my heart and mind were not open to change. Once God opened my curiosity through the testimony of Carlos Anacondia and I did not resist it in stubbornness of opinion, He gave me more. As Jesus said: “Be careful HOW you hear: for whosoever has, to him shall be given; and whosoever has not, from him shall be taken even that which he seems to have.” (Luke 8:18)

Michael started to talk to me one day about his frustrations with what he saw as a problem in the church. Though we were in one of the best larger churches in Sydney, not many people were coming to the church, even less were getting saved, despite the best efforts from many sincere believers in the church, including ourselves. Being a thinker, he analyzed the situation and realized that we are fighting a loosing battle. He thought about the number of believers in Sydney verses the number of unbelievers and realized that if EVERY believer led one person to Christ in one on one evangelism it will take 25 years for Sydney to be fully reached! That really troubled and I told Michael: But in those 25 years how many of them will die and never get reached!

It is not just a matter of eventually getting to people with the Gospel, it is getting to them IN TIME before they die! I knew that all too well after hearing a testimony from a Gospel worker in India who reached one lady 30 minutes too late with the Gospel, after she already threw her baby in the Gange river to make amends for her sins! She heard the Gospel from the worker and was happy at first that there is a solution provided by the God of the Bible for forgiveness of sins. But then her joy turned to rage towards the Christian worker for not arriving 30 minutes earlier as then she would not have had to kill her own baby. Then her rage turned to extreme sadness, for both her and the worker as they realized what an unnecessary tragedy has just occurred! That story remained with me for life. History is full of such stories. Japan would have been a Christian nation if the catholic church would’ve kept their word to the Emperor to come back and teach them about Christianity. Romania would have been fully evangelized after the Communist revolution if the church did not remain within closed doors as they were used to and got out on the streets to preach when there was freedom to do so. Three years later that freedom was gone and new laws put in place to stop street preaching. There are windows of opportunity which depends upon time, not just execution of a task. We need to reach people in time before their death, not just generally reach an area. We were left wondering what can we do to win what seemed like a loosing battle!

A few days later Michael came to me excited with the Bible and showed me in there something I never saw before. He showed me Ezechiel 33:6:

‘But if the watchman sees the sword come, and blows not the trumpet, and the people are not warned; if the sword comes, and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.’

Our eyes were suddenly opened. We were just talking a few days earlier about people not being warned, dying before we give them the message. We are the watchman that sees the danger of hell and of the devil and we are to warn people before he kills them and takes them to hell! And how are we to do it? This is what was the key for Michael. The watchman does dot see the enemy and then goes door to door, one person at a time to warn them that the enemy is on the way to kill them. If he did so, half of the people will be already dead before we could even deliver the message and then the other half will probably be captured too. Instead, he uses what God spoke to Michael to be ancient media technology, a trumpet, a way to amplify a message and give it in mass at the same time and in time to every one so they have a chance to escape before the sword comes!

Now we got excited! We understood that God wants us to use technology in order to deliver the message on mass and in time, that solved our dilemma! Michael spoke with our local pastor, a humble man of God, who was humble enough to listen and he said: Well, we have all the equipment we need lying around, not used, all we need, let’s do it. They did and we have heard that now most of the new people who come to that church come as a result of the local TV program they launched! We actually had NO experience in shooting or editing and learned from the professionals in that church! You don’t need to have all the expertise to do what God tells you to do, that is details that can be learned on the way, the most important thing is to obey and start!

Then revelations kept on coming. I read Psalm 145: 10-12 and it says:

“All your works shall praise you, O LORD; and your saints shall bless you. They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and talk of your power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.”

I read this and I thought: Hang on a minute? Here it says that we need to speak of the glory of God’s Kingdom and talk of His power, meaning of what He did in our lives – aka our testimony – not just to the saints in the church bit ‘to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts! I thought: Don’t we in the church usually just share our testimonies amongst each other? But here God says to take that to the world! We are not doing it! And how to take it to the world? Secular media is not really interested in ‘Once I was blind now I can see’ type testimony. Then the pen dropped, we need to create our own Christian media where what we value is possible to air to the masses.

I started again and again to pray, like Carlos Anacondia: Lord, give us the media for Christ! Give us the media for Christ! The more I prayed, the angrier I became in my heart that the devil, who is the enemy of God, has the biggest voice over the airwaves to influence and shape the thinking and opinions of people. We try to reach the unsaved one on one with a message, maybe speak to them even once a week in church and maybe a bit during the week, while the devil blares his rubbish through the media to them every evening! I started to feel how wrong and unfair this is to God and how Him, being the God of the universe, should be the one to be heard the loudest among the sons of men, especially since He wants so much to see them saved. Yet His message has not reached many of them! I prayed even harder because of this righteous anger that rose within me for God to give us the media for Christ!

Soon enough God confirmed from Scripture that my feelings to be concerned for Him to be known among the nations was correct and it is clearly seen in Malachi 1: 11 – I nearly jumped out of my skin as I saw this:

“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same MY NAME SHALL BE GREAT AMONG THE GENTILES; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for MY NAME SHALL BE GREAT AMONG THE NATIONS, says the LORD of hosts.” and in verse 14 ‘FOR I AM A GREAT KING,” says the Lord Almighty, “and MY NAME IS TO BE FEARED AMONG THE NATIONS.

I thought, yes, I was right, God wants His name to be great and feared, not just in the church, but among the nations! And how did He say in Psalm 145 that we can do this: By making known TO THE SONS OF MEN His mighty acts! I got so excited and I felt, God I got it, I got it!

Both me and Michael then started to pray for God’s glory to be great in the earth.  We understood that this is important to Him, among the nations, and it became important to us too. We started to develop a great passion for His glory to be revealed in the nations. We cried from the bottom of our hearts with this new passion from God: God, we want you to be glorified among the nations, you deserve to be glorified, You are a great King, like you said in Malachi and Your name is to be feared and glorified among the nations! God, uses us for Your glory, God, we want this so much, even if it means we are hidden so you get the maximum glory, just use us! And God graciously heard our cries and did just that… we did not necessarily like when he fulfilled the ‘us hidden’ cause it kind of hurt, but we are happy that His glory was maximized even if we had to do it from behind the scenes.

In 2004, God made it very clear that we are to go to India, start shooting testimonies of believers and air them on TV so everyone can hear of His mighty acts, not just those inside the church building. But since we could not put such testimonies on a Hindu or secular channel, we had to start our own 24/7 Christian network. God gave us a Scripture to be out motto:

“For THE EARTH SHALL BE FILLED with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14) – not just obscurely covered here and there, but filled. This requires mass broadcasting of the message.

I realized just as we were planning to go that God fulfilled His promise to me and show me HOW to reach all those incredible masses of India. Now it was all possible and I marveled at myself what a small thinker I was that I could not see this. Thanks to God that He gave me a willingness to learn something even if contrary to my existing beliefs and not to be stuck in my own stubbornness of mind.

When we announced to the church that we were planning to go to India, I was 8 months pregnant with my first child! People could not believe I was willing to risk going to India with a baby. But I had an unswerving faith in my heart that this is what I am meant to do and so did Michael. We had prophecy over prophecy confirming it, God speaking to us and we knew it was the right timing. Looking back we know now that we could not have waited, the door of opportunity has shut a lot more in India now with persecution happening more and more. Even so, by the grace of God the channel is still airing to around 900,000 homes on cable in India and to the whole world via the internet.  It was a window of opportunity not to be missed while there was freedom to do it. Churches are forced to go underground, demolished, believers beaten, but God is holding the 24/7 Gospel channel live. That is only a miracle of God for which we take no credit!

Our God is a God who says that in the last days we need to go to the highways and byways and compel them ALL to come in. (Luke 14:23) What a better way to do it but through mass media! How else are we going to take the message to ALL in time? The trumpet was simply ancient media technology, a way to send a message, now we have radio, TV and internet.

He also told us: “What I tell you in darkness, that speak you in light: and what you hear in the ear, that preach you ON THE HOUSE TOPS.” (Matthew 10:27) The house roof tops in Israel are flat and in the ancient times the roof tops were the way they made announcements. They would get up and blowing a trumpet, beating the drums and using a loud voice they would wait for the crowd to gather and then share whatever public announcements had to be made. Jesus is saying here, make public to all what I teach you in your quiet time! He also says that we should not light our light and hide it under a bushel but we should let it be seen by ALL in order to give light to ALL. (Luke 11:33)

These days announcements to the masses are made via newspapers, TV, radio and internet! If we are to obey Jesus’ command, we cannot ignore these means of mass media in order to please our religious selves.

Mass media is simply a bigger microphone medium through which we can deliver the message. It reaches more
people than just a few thousands in a church building and it goes behind closed doors to people who might not ever go to a church and some who can’t because of sickness or persecution. It reaches those who would not open the door to you if you went to evangelize them but they do turn the TV on.

I remember in India we once drove via an area which an Indian pastor told us that no one can go in there by foot to evangelize, it was a fully muslim area and you simply could not go in as a Gospel worker, even if you were Indian. That really grieved my heart that these people were not reached. Out TV network was then not as big and was not reaching into this area. We prayed with all our hearts that we will be able to cover this area as well and by God’s grace we ended up covering every house in that area! Muslim women, whether from that particular part of town or not, would ring us and tell us confidentially that the moment their husbands leave for work they turn the channel on and watch all day.

They were secret believers without an access to a Bible or Christian fellowship. One muslim man called the prayerline just to find out what was such a thing as a prayerline, he did not even understand such a simple thing. One of the Muslim men overcome by addictions called for prayer was delivered and saved. They all received the Gospel.

Some Hindu men called asking for prayer for healing, the sick person could not go to church, he was bedridden. Our team went and prayed for him and he and some of his relatives gave their lives to Christ. 2 weeks later died! One man was not listening at all to the testimony of the family, but started to watching the channel. They found him dead on the couch at 6 am still in front of the TV watching the Christian channel. Neighbors who consistently refused to visit the church next door to them watched the same pastor on TV instead! We have more than 100 pages of testimonies from viewers who were affected by the channel and that does not include all the testimonies we have heard.

REASONS WHY BELIEVERS FEEL IS NOT A GOOD IDEA TO USE MASS MEDIA

Some believers are very concerned when they heard about media for a number of reasons, some which I fully understand.

1. THEY FEEL IT IS IMPERSONAL

The way this issue can be solved, which we did on the channel in India, is by creating local Christian channels, on cable, reaching local areas, with local pastors, speaking in their own native language and being able to relate culturally to the people. They can personalize their programs to speak more directly to the viewers, they can offer their number to be called by the locals for prayer, they can invite them to locally organized crusades and offer to visit people in their homes. The people can go Sundays to their church meetings. You can get local believers to share their testimonies or use their gifts on the channel. Chances are that some of their neighbors, relatives and friends will also be watching, or they can be told they are on TV at such and such a time and the whole body of Christ can become useful on a larger local scale. This is how you can take what feels impersonal and make it very personal.

This way, quite a number of new churches were started, people came in thousands more to the local evangelistic crusades, thousands got saved and added to the local churches (the local pastors testify that) and the cost of having a TV program was lower than setting up a crusade. People on the brink of suicide called the prayerline and got saved and then visited and added to the churches. One Hindu bedridden paralyzed man got up and walked as a preacher prayed for healing over TV.

For many what they saw on TV was the only Bible they had or were allowed to have. We ran at 7 pm a program scrolling the Bible text with audio voice and music and nature scenes in the background so those who could not read the Bible got a chance to see what it says. We were pastors before in Romania and did lots of one on one evangelism but never saw as many results as when we worked with others in the body of Christ in TV. As God says: One puts one thousand to flight, 2 put ten thousands. And quantity does count because Jesus said in John that ‘By this will my Father be glorified, that you bear MUCH fruit’ (John 15:8), not just a bit of fruit.

2. MASS MEDIA HAS BEEN MISUSED BY FALSE TEACHERS AND MONEY HUNGRY MINISTERS

Others have been turned off by the misuse of this media among Christian circles by false teachers or corrupt preachers who sadly have made a circus out of God’s Holy Gospel and their manipulative speeches full of greed have turned many away as well as their wrong doctrines running rampart as a result.

This problem is also solvable. We decided we will not do or allow any fundraising directly on the channel in order to avoid releasing a flood of ungodliness for which we would be responsible before God. It meant we grew slower in coverage and we had less influence than other channels, but since we do not worship influence and success above God, it is ok to grow slower but healthier.

We also have a procedure for checking a minister who wants to come on the channel to understand their doctrine and what their testimony is among other local churches and believers. We said ‘No’ to quite a few ministries, some big, because we do care about preserving the truthfulness and purity of the message. We have a clause in the contract which allows us to stop airing a program if the believe the preacher is teaching false teaching and we have applied it a couple of times.

What I am saying is that it can be done right! I am sure we were not perfect, but we tried. Just because others did something in a way that was not good it doesn’t mean it cannot be done right! 

The benefit of a 24/7 channel is that you can take someone who knows nothing about God and systematically teach them and disciple them. We aired a 200 hours video Bible school in local language which systematically trains a new believer from the very basics to how to pastor a church. Movies are ways to capture the imagination of people and make them live the truth you are trying to present. That way the truth comes to life for them and there are greater chances it will leave a more lasting impression.

Mass media is a great way to help influence the way people think about life and God and the godly creative ways to do so are limitless. All the sensory effects of sound, image, music produce greater learning than just sound only. Many will stop for a movie but would switch the channel if they saw a preacher. God is not bound by just one method in how He works, just look at His creation and you will see He is very creative, He will not limit Himself to only one way of doing things so why should we limit Him? Even if the devil used mass media in a bad way it does not mean God can’t use it in a godly way.

So if you want to do something about what you have just heard and not just say: That is interesting, some new teaching I did not hear before! Why don’t you contact us if the Lord leads and become prayer supporters, reaching millions of people brings on a strong spiritual battle and we need the support of the body of Christ to win!

You can also write your testimony for us to use on this website, where thousands will read it and it will work for you while you sleep again and again, multiplying your efforts for Jesus in this life time. Or you can take a short video of your testimony of what God did in your life and send it to us to air! If you want to start a TV program and you want us to help you with advice, we can do so as well. The more glory Jesus gets the better, we live for His glory on the earth! He is a great King and He wants us to make known His mighty acts towards us to the sons of men!

Looking forward to hearing from you taking action to put this message in practice one way or another to bring glory to Jesus and use your life to the maximum for His glory! And if you want to watch the channel from India, you can find it at www.newhopetv.org . Please share your comments below.

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About Marilena Fackerell

Leave a Reply (Choose Facebook or Standard)

 

Please enable us to use MORE time to reach MORE PEOPLE ... Donate NOW.

close
Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonYouTube Icon