Throughout history media has been the means for delivering the message. From verbal storytelling to cave etchings, from stain glass windows to PowerPoint presentations – media has been used to communicate.
Len Wilson, the author of The Wired Church, once noted that: “99.9 percent of Americans have televisions while 97 percent have plumbing.” While he might be exaggerating the point a bit, I remember traveling with a group from my church to a little village in Mexico about ten years ago. This was a small village of houses made up of scrap lumber and tin. There was no electricity and no telephone service and only a common well for water. Yet, in the early evening there would be small groups of people gathered around pickup trucks to watch TV’s running off the trucks batteries. The world is wired and institutions that want to communicate with the people living in this day and age need to be wired.
Great institutions that survive through the ages have always been able to speak “the language of the culture” according to Michael Slaughter, the author of Out on The Edge and an innovator in the use of media in ministry. From stain glass windows that told a story to people who couldn’t read, to translating and mass-producing the Bible in the common language of the people – media have been used to make the message available to everyday folks in a means that made sense. Andrew Careaga, author of eMinistry, writes that growing waves of children and adults now inhabit a “wired world – one very foreign” to the world of just a few decades ago. This is now an interactive world that needs to be understood by those seeking to interact with current and future generations.
Tex Sample, retired seminary professor and author of The Spectacle of Worship in a Wired World, states that the media of our electronic generation must be used “to engage the world in images” in order to effectively communicate in this day and age.
The role of the Media Minister is to connect the future that is now, with an institution that seeks to move into today. The role of the Media Minister is not to alter the message, but to equip an institution with a new means for sharing an old message.