Applying “Social Media” — Jeff Archey

“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:47).

The apostles returned to Jerusalem (Acts 1:12). Thousands more would make the annual pilgrimage for the feast of Pentecost referred as “…devout men out of every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). Acts 2:9-11 elaborates, “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” Little did they know when they left home, things would be different when they returned. They had heard the gospel, “the wonderful works of God!” This lesson was Spirit filled; sign affirmed; Scripture led; Savior preached; salvation granted, and sinners converted…and social media was taking it back home! Social Media?!?!

Think of it simply as this:  media or news that needs to be spread. What better news than the “good news,” the gospel (Rom. 1:16)?

And were they not “social?” Were they not communicative and friendly, conversing with one another of the wonderful works of God? After Pentecost, Acts 2:47 records how the church was “praising God, and having favor with all the people…” They were spreading the good news using what was available before them!

After the lame man at the gate was healed, Luke wrote, “And all the people saw him walking and praising God” (Acts 3:9).  Then Peter and John brought the media…the good news…and preached Christ.  Later when Peter and John were before the rulers, they again brought the media…the good news…and preached Christ.  We read of the same thing again in Acts 5:28-29, and no only before the rulers.  Luke wrote, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42).  They kept bringing the media…that good news that was spreading!

And spread it did!  Remember what Jesus said, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:47).  Not only did these devout men take the gospel back home from Pentecost (Acts 2:5), but when persecution came upon the church in Jerusalem, Luke wrote, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).  Every member everywhere—they brought the media — carried the media, the good news, the gospel!  From Philip preaching an area-wide meeting in Samaria (Acts 8:5-12) to a one-on-one Bible study in a chariot (Acts 8:27-39), the media…the good news…was brought forth.

It was not only proclaimed to Jews on Pentecost, but also to a household of Gentiles.  Peter brought the media, the gospel (Acts 10).  And how we love what happened in Philippi (Acts 16)!  From the power of prayer to the seller of purpose and to the period in prison, oh how Paul and Silas brought the media, the good news!

New Testament Christians took advantage of every opportunity to bring forth the gospel.  They applied first century “social media” as they socially engaged others with the media, the good news!  The result?  “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven…Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:23, 26-27, emphasis mine).

As we continue in the faith and bring forth the gospel, shall we not take advantage of today’s social media?  Look for opportunities and pursue the open doors before us (1 Cor. 16:9; Phil. 3:8)!  Through the Carolinas, the International Gospel Hour saw an open door to be used to God’s glory in carrying forth the message.

You may know the history of the International Gospel Hour that began in 1934 on radio and for 88 years continues.  The late V.E. Howard saw an open door of media, that “relatively new invention” called radio, and began preaching the gospel.  60 years later, Winford Claiborne continued the excellent work and saw another open door of media, the Internet.  Jody Apple followed Winford and saw the use of social media in addition to the opportunities before.  And now, through television, another door opens for the International Gospel Hour.

In 2021, history was made with the first full length weekly version of the International Gospel Hour television program.  A goal in 2022 was to enter certain television markets through “over-the-air” opportunities—not only via digital antennas, but cable and satellite systems—focusing on top twenty-five markets where the Lord’s church had no or little programming.  An additional goal was airing at later times Sunday morning to reach the “non church-going folk” that sleep in but still might include souls that may be searching, souls that need Christ.  Our research led us to an open door in Charlotte, North Carolina!

Beginning July 10, 2022, the churches of Christ in the Charlotte marketing area now have a television program.  The International Gospel Hour airs Sundays at 11:00 AM on WCCB, Channel 18, the CW Channel.  WCCB’s history and service to the Carolinas is well known.  How encouraging it is to receive requests for Bible study materials the first several weeks!  This is the best response from our seven television markets!

Brethren, please use this useful tool.  Let your members know about it and use it in your evangelistic efforts.  It covers 22 counties in North and South Carolina.  Please check your local listings to see if WCCB is in your viewing area.  You can also see the reception map which will be shown on where this article is published at http://www.carolinamessenger.net (editor’s note: look for it below at the end of this article).  Please feel free to reach out to me for more information at jeff@internationalgospelhour.com.

As those in the first century used every opportunity to “bring the media,” let us do the same.  To God be the glory!

 

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