Technology and innovation continue to play an important role in enabling Christianity to reach a world-wide audience. Because of the efforts of many great forerunners, the Gospel has been shared with numerous people who wouldn’t have otherwise heard the message. Additionally, they have significantly influenced television ministry. Because of these strides, you and I are able to view Christian programming any time of the day from the comfort of our own homes.
One of the pioneers of technology was Rev. Billy Graham. He was committed to proclaiming the Gospel by every means possible. He embraced the power and reach of television early into evangelistic ministry.
While radio, books, and films were important to expanding his ministry, by far the most significant platform was television. The following quote from Graham gives you a glimpse into his feelings on using television for evangelism: “Most preachers and teachers would say, I think, that talking to a live audience stimulates the speaker. It still astonishes me, however, to realize that I can be all alone in front of a radio microphone or a television camera and still reach more people than I ever could in a lifetime of personal appearances.”
Around 1957, Billy Graham started World Wide Pictures as a complement to his Billy Graham Crusade organization. The Billy Graham Crusades reached millions of people through television. Beginning in 1989, a series of Crusades via satellite extended his preaching to live audiences in more than 185 countries and territories. From remote tribal villages to major world capitals, Graham always sought to fulfill Christ’s final command to His disciples: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation’” (Mark 16:15).
Another innovator that made a significant impact was R.C. Sproul. Early in his ministry, Sproul launched a tape ministry. His audio teaching tapes formed a vast library that spread rapidly around the United States. This exposure opened doors for Sproul to speak at churches and conferences around the country.
In 1974, he began videotaping his lecture series. These recordings enabled him to reach hundreds each week through churches, schools, and Bible studies throughout the U.S. His ministry placed a great emphasis on continuing to expand the audio and videotape ministries. Today, Ligonier Ministries has grown substantially and continues to spread the Word through audio CDs, video DVDs, the internet, television, and other platforms.
I am thankful for the efforts of both of these men and countless others who have made an impact on our ministry. Without their innovations and adaptation of the technologies of their day, how many might not have heard the truth? How many might not have grown in their walk? Only God truly knows how many lives have been influenced by these faithful men.