Matthew 16:15 says "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" As the world's population grows to almost 7 billion people, this command becomes ever more difficult to fulfill, yet the responsibility does not go away. If Christians are to be effective evangelists, we must begin to use all the gifts at our disposal which means embracing the potential of technology to reach the masses.
Social media has redefined how people engage with one another, as well as, how we attain our awareness of the world. Tweets, Facebook news feeds, and Instagram images are just some of the tools people are using to stay engaged with society. To meet people where they are, we have to meet them in their mobile devices. Otherwise, we will continue to preach to 99% saved every Sunday.
According to Pew Research Center, 91% of Americans have mobile phones and 49% of Americans use their mobile phones for directions, recommendations, or other location based information. That statistic includes where to worship. The Avenue F Church of Christ in Plano, Texas recently had a guest visiting the United States from Finland. They found that congregation on Google. A member of that congregation watches the live stream of the Sunday morning services every week.
Another benefit of including technology in evangelism efforts is the ability to break down common barriers when reaching the lost. There are many reasons people will refuse to visit a church. Fear of the unknown, unwillingness to get up early on a weekend, and other priorities are just a few. By sharing a link to a live or recorded stream with friends, family, and coworkers, the modern day evangelist can break through those barriers allowing the person they are trying to reach to hear the message in a way that removes the anxieties and inconveniences associated with visiting a new church.
The Church of Christ Broadcast Network - COCBN provides the technology to reach people where they are. COCBN equips churches with the technology to stream services live and on-demand. Streams can even be viewed directly through Facebook. In the era of social media, the churches of Christ have a tremendous opportunity to reach the masses by embracing this technology. Small congregations can spread the message as easily as large ones.
As Christians begin to think of new ways to reach the lost, considering social media and streaming technology is a small step that will yield great results. COCBN leads the church technology revolution by helping individual congregations reach their technology goals.
For over 12 years, COCBN has been developing church web technology to come up with the best, most versatile web experience for churches. Websites, streaming media, and mobile apps are now combined into a single fluid system that makes management easier. This turnkey solution allows churches to focus on ministry rather than building technology.
In the early days of church websites, websites were static and provided limited information. The process to manage them was cumbersome, often requiring a developer. Websites for churches today need to serve several functions, including the ability to update easily. Content management, member management, online bulletins, online donations, streaming audio and video, and dynamically changing information are just some of the requirements of modern church websites.
The COCBN Broadcaster web system has answered the call of church website needs. COCBN Broadcaster can be used as a full blown web and streaming system or each feature can be used as a stand-alone service. For instance, if a church already has a website, the video player can be launched from that website. Otherwise, the web system that contains the streaming capability can also be used as a website. The benefit of using the COCBN Broadcaster for all web needs is convenience and efficiency. The full web system allows multiple users to have their own login access and there is only one admin interface to update all web platforms (website, mobile app, and streaming).
Support for web technology is excellent as COCBN provides information, training, and support to assist users of church congregations. Entire technology ministries can be developed around the COCBN Broadcaster.
In 2003, I set out to establish a global broadcast network for the churches of Christ, basically with only a prayer. The Internet would be the technology that would allow this to happen. This vision was prior to video streaming sites such as Youtube or Vimeo. Most people were still using dial up Internet services. I remember walking into Best Buy and asking a sales rep "How can I attach a video camera to a computer?" Neither the computer department nor the video department could tell me.
Eventually, I pieced enough technology together to make it happen. As the minister of technology at the Mountain View Church of Christ in Dallas, I implemented live streaming video during worship services. The Church of Christ Broadcast Network - COCBN was born. Now we are approaching our 10th year in existence. I can honestly say it has taken this long for the churches to begin embracing this technology.
Services such as Youtube, live streaming services, broadband Internet, lower priced video equipment are some of the things that have made this trek possible. Now churches are beginning to realize the importance and significance of streaming technology.
Over the past 10 years, I have assisted many congregations in various aspects of technology, mostly piecing together missing parts of various functions. After a decade, we are finally at a place to present whole turnkey solutions to help churches build entire technology ministries.
I am very excited about the days and years to come as we set out to help churches of Christ spread the gospel using broadcast and web technology. It is our goal to establish standards and processes that will allow church staff to focus on ministry using our tools as magnifiers of their purpose.
This blog will serve to keep the public aware of new developments, trends, and possibilities in the use of church technology. Please continue to pray for our efforts. Pray that we aid in spreading the light of Christ by uplifting the local congregations' ability to reach the masses. God bless!
Hammond Burke, DirectorChurch of Christ Broadcast Network - COCBN