Spreading the Word with media

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--After Paul had his conversion experience, he spoke boldly at every opportunity. There may never have been a more powerful speaker for the Word. But the Lord allowed him to be placed in prison. Paul probably struggled with why God wasn't permitting him to travel and tell others the Good News.

He could reach many hundreds, maybe thousands, of people through his traveling evangelism. So Paul wrote letters instead. God inspired those letters, and now those letters comprise much of the New Testament. They have changed many millions of lives since Paul penned them. They will change the lives of many millions more in the future.

What does this have to do with your church's ministry touch-points? Think about it: Is your church relying primarily on a Sunday message for evangelism, or are you taking advantage of other opportunities to reach even larger numbers of people than those who simply attend your services each Sunday? There are so many ways to share your ministries and reach beyond the walls of your church.

For example, can your pastor write a regular devotional for your local daily or weekly newspaper? How about a community magazine? Even the smallest local newspaper or magazine has the potential to reach many hundreds of people who otherwise may not ever know about your church. One short devotional from your pastor might be just the message someone hurting needs to read. It may touch a heart, and that person in turn may visit your church and have his or her life changed for Christ.

Can you offer your weekly worship services on a local Christian, or possibly secular, radio station? Sometimes there are very small local radio stations, both AM and FM, that may not have very powerful signals, but still reach thousands of loyal listeners in your community. Occasionally, these stations are looking for programming on the weekends or at night. They may be willing to air your Sunday messages and expand your worship services well beyond the people who visit your church each Sunday. You could let your members, particularly shut-ins, know that they can catch your Sunday worship on the radio when they can't attend.

How about television? Is there a local affiliate station, even a local limited access television channel, in your area that might air your worship services at a reasonable investment? You could be surprised to find that your worship experience can be expanded beyond your greatest dreams ... but not beyond God's plans.

There really is no limit to what God can do with your church's ministries. You just need to take a first step and see where He will lead you. Begin picking up and reading through the free local newspapers and magazines you see at the supermarkets and drug stores. Spend a little time scanning the radio stations on your AM and FM dials, particularly at night and on the weekends. Use your TV remote control to check channels that might be available for covering your worship. Then take some time to visit the local newspaper offices or your local radio and television stations. Ask if there are any needs your church might fill. You may find that God has already been at work opening doors for you.

Be willing to consider options that have never crossed your mind. Survey your church membership and find out if any of them might work for, or know someone who works for, one of the local media outlets. Maybe the producer of your local radio station attends your church regularly. Also ask if there might be a member of your church who owns some farmland near a major freeway or highly traveled road. Would that person allow you to erect a sign for your church giving directions and possibly allowing a very brief ministry message? This kind of sign can reach so many people driving by each day and encourage them to attend your worship service. Make sure you have a professional sign painter do the message and stay within your local sign ordinances.

Another alternative to sharing your worship services is to offer a question and answer column or program ("Q&A") on Christianity, or religious issues of interest to your community. "Q&A's" are popular and can help you address the specific spiritual needs present in your local ministry field.

How many new ways can you reach out beyond the walls of your Sunday worship services to touch the lost?

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).


Woody Murray is an independent church communications specialist who helps churches more effectively reach their communities. He has worked for 30 years in communications and marketing in advertising agencies and at a major Christian organization. Contact him at rwoodymurray@comcast.net or at 615-646-5725.

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