This amazing technology
Once in a while it dawns on me how much technology has changed things, even in the small things. The other day I was looking at the website for our diocese. Most of the news is generated from my office, although other churches and individuals in Georgia and Tennessee also contribute. We then send that information to a man in a small town in southeastern Tennessee who posts it on the website. From that point, the news goes ... everywhere.
After I became the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South for our denomination, which includes Tennessee and Georgia, a website was developed. The website has been visited just shy of 340,000 times. On the website we place news of individuals and churches, articles by people in the diocese, and my articles and sermons. We have gained an audience far, far greater that the Sunday morning attendance. The amazing thing to me is where that audience lives.
Our website guru, Randall Allen, has a device that lets us check from where, during the last 24 hours, we have received visits, or “hits.” A few mornings ago, I decided to take a look.
Most of the hits, predictably, came from the United States — from all over the United States. During that short period, we also received visits from Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Serbia, Estonia, the Russian Federation, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, India, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Australia, and even Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. And that was only in the preceding 24-hour period!
Back when I first started in the ministry, a minister or evangelist who had visited a few countries would often, in his or her publicity, boast that he or she had an “international ministry.” Now, without ever leaving home, the smallest church can genuinely make that same claim — and it be the truth!
Father Paul Massey, for example, authors a monthly column for The Citizen newspaper called, “Ask Father Paul,” in which he answers the questions of people who write in. After it appears in the paper, we post it on our website. Within a few hours, hundreds of people from all over the globe — including from Muslim, Communist, and totalitarian states — read the articles. Or they see our news, or read my column, or listen to my sermons.
Every ministry, church, or business can have an international outreach. Products, concepts, and ideas can go around the world and land in the most unlikely places, all thanks to this technology. Our website has been visited from people on every continent except Antarctica and by people from nearly every nation where the Internet is present. It is both amazing and humbling.
For the Church, the opportunity exists to participate, and not just speculate, in the Great Commission: “He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved ...’” Mark 16:1, and “... Therefore go and make disciples of all nations ... And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV).
It is, indeed, a brave, new world and that world is now as close as a keyboard and a mouse.