Embracing the Change

Post published for TheSoar.net

Let’s Get Some Perspective

“Times they are a-changin.” Bob Dylan made that phrase popular during the 60’s. It may have been true in that season, but it has never been truer than today.

When I say that, you might think that I am talking about the negative changes in our society, with its lawlessness and its rebellion against God and His Word. But that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about some good changes. In fact I believe the changes I’m talking about are gifts from God . Changes to help us navigate the waters of our current society, throwing out life boats to all who will pay attention.

So what are these gifts? Let’s take a little trek back through history, and I think that we will see God’s new gifts with more perspective. Throughout the centuries, God has inspired creativity to flow through the minds of men so that inventions could elevate their lives – bringing comfort and opportunity.

1450 was one of those significant moments for western civilization. Prior to that date, messages were hard to deliver – whether those messages were political, religious, or of newsworthy events. Every message had to be written by hand and even carried by a courier to reach its appointed destination.

In 1450, Johannes Gutenburg revolutionized the world with his invention of the printing press. No longer was the sending of messages so time-consuming. Now books and other writings could be mass produced and distributed with greater ease. Yet the sending of these written materials was still difficult – with couriers on foot, horseback, or in wagons doing the job. The manuscripts could be written, but they were still expensive and hard to come by. Only the elite and educated could benefit from this revolution.

Fast forward a few hundred years, and we see a century which brought more dramatic changes than ever in history. As the nineteenth century turned over to the twentieth, transportation began to come of age. Trains, automobiles, and airplanes introduced incredible opportunities for people to get from one place to another quite quickly – and for the written materials to get from one place to another, as well. Books, magazines, and newspapers gained in popularity.

People could read the messages, but couldn’t hear them. So the inventions which surrounded the ability to transmit sound came on the scene. The telephone, phonographs, and the radio again changed the way people lived. Most of us have seen pictures of a family gathered around a huge radio as they heard  President Roosevelt tell the nation that we were at war. Or as they listened to Orson Wells deliver his drama. So the message could now be heard.

Soon to come was the introduction of seeing the speakers as well. Motion pictures, and then television transformed society. Even to this day these two inventions are significant in molding the thoughts of people throughout the world. Sometimes influencing for good – and sometimes influencing for evil.

Well, the last of the twentieth century introduced the most amazing discovery of all times. The computer. At first, it was cumbersome and slow – as businesses (and only the largest, at that) had equipment rooms the size of small houses in order to hold the necessary machinery. Yet, as we all know, that too has changed.

Today we are still in the middle of a technological revolution. With the introduction of the internet , the cell phone, and much smaller computer devices, we have access to information from around the world at our fingertips. The most remote parts of the world are available to us in a moment any time, day or night. When you stop for a moment and think about it, this is truly amazing!

I think that it is important for us to “get this right.” God has given us an opportunity to reach mankind in an unprecedented way. It’s up to us to take that opportunity.

Now all of these inventions throughout the generations have been conveniences which are neither good nor bad in themselves. At every juncture of advancement, there have been some who used the new means of reaching people in a godly way and others in an ungodly way. The same presses which could print tawdry novels, could also print the Bible. The television, which could send pornography to your home, could also allow you to participate in a world-wide revival event.

I remember years ago hearing some Christian leaders lament the fact that Christian groups had not embraced the television soon enough. When TV first came out, many Christians thought that it was a tool for evil, and shunned it altogether. Years later, some leaders thought how different society could have been if the leaders had embraced the technology immediately – bringing God’s message and good Christian programming to the world from the start.

Today, something similar is here. There are those who sit back and see the newer technologies as only evil. They just want their people to stay away from the devices.

I see something different. I believe that we have an unprecedented opportunity – given to us by God – to deliver His message of hope to all the world. Not even radio or television had the ability to go into all the world. The internet does. Even the most remote villages around the world are being targeted for some form of internet service.

The internet is more effective than any invention in history when we use it well. And not only is it effective, it’s surprisingly inexpensive.

Publishing books is expensive. Running radio or television programs can go into the millions. The cost of getting your message online can be almost nothing.

What a powerful blessing we have at our fingertips!

So let’s do it! Join me in a mission to impact the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the good life which goes with it.

In the next few posts, I will deliver 7 steps to getting your own ministry online. I sincerely hope you gain great benefit from the information.

Step #1 What do you want to accomplish?

Do you remember the story about the confused general? He jumped on his horse and rode off in all directions. I’ve been there, so I understand that general. Confusion and more confusion, which results in going in circles, accomplishing nothing.

That’s not the way we want to go, so this first step is very important.

You must do some soul searching and prayer. There are thousands of things you can be doing, but you can’t do them all. So what do you want to accomplish? What is your part in God’s big plan?

I would suggest that you get a notebook, find a quiet spot, and start writing every idea that comes to mind. (Some people call this “brainstorming.”)

Write down the people groups you feel most drawn to. Men, women, children, youth, singles, couples.

Are there special problems which stir your compassion more? Alcoholism and drug addiction?  Abused children? Burned out ministers?

Is your ministry to unbelievers, new believers, or to seasoned ministers?

At this point, don’t stop the process of your thinking. If it comes to mind, write it down. Try to list at least 50 ideas.

When you feel that your list is complete, prioritize your ideas. It’s important to prayerfully consider your thoughts and allow God to bring to light your special mission. As you spend some time here, some of your ideas will leap out to you as your priority.

When you know your mission, you will be better able to do the following steps.

One note here. Your mission will be changing as you go. Over time, you will be refining, mastering, and adding to your plan. What you are attempting to do here is to start your mission, so your strongest drive is what you are looking for.

Step #2   What Will Be The Medium?

You have an idea about what your message is, now you need to decide how you are going to get your message to the people.

Do you like to write? If so, you might start with a blog. (A short message posted on the computer). You could write a post a couple of times a week or more often, delivering teachings or exhortations to your following.

Or maybe you want to publish e-books and Kindle editions.

Do you prefer speaking? Well you can deliver your talks on “podcasts” (similar to radio addresses), which others can listen to on their computers or smart phones. (This is especially effective for younger, busier people, who like to listen as they go about their business).

Would you rather deliver your messages with video? Very inexpensive applications are available for that. You could aim for a YouTube channel to reach your audience.

Maybe you don’t see yourself as delivering a message as your first priority. Maybe you want to finance the gospel by selling your products or those of others as an affiliate marketer. This idea of “marketplace ministry,” is gaining in popularity throughout the Christian world. There are those whose desire is primarily financial, but who want to impact their audience with Christian motivational thoughts on a regular basis…and want to pour finances into God’s Kingdom.

There are many means of accomplishing your goals, and you will discover and be adding others as you go. You will probably incorporate several means as your ministry or business develops. It’s always better to start with one, however, so that you can focus and develop this one completely. Then later, you may add another means.

These early steps are very important for accomplishing your goals. When you know whom you want to reach and with which method you are more comfortable, your job is a lot easier. Next you can begin to hone your skills in those areas, knowing a direction you want to take – and goals you want to achieve.

In the next post, we will be looking at other elements of your project. Specifically we will be talking about ideas for establishing your presence online. It’s easier and less expensive than you might think.