Using Technology to Spread the Gospel
I am the minister for the Church of Christ in Munfordville, Kentucky. We are a small congregation of the Lord’s church located in a farming community in central Kentucky. We average 25 to 30 people in attendance. I have been the minister here since September 1992. Early on we started using computers in our worship service. Even before the internet was available to us, I would use a computer to display Scripture and Bible lessons on a large screen for the audience. We invested in BibleWorks, a software that has 40 to 50 translations of the Bible in many languages. I have found it quite useful as we’ve had exchange students and visitors who did not speak English as their first language.
During those early days of using technology, I would record the lessons, copy them to cassette, and physically mail them to anyone who wanted to hear services. Today, with the internet and almost everyone having some form of computer, tablet, or smartphone, the process is much more streamlined. Each service is broadcast to two online services: YouTube and TuneIn Radio.
TuneIn Radio is audio only and makes it very easy for people to simply listen when they cannot view a screen. It uses very little data and can be listened to on speeds as slow as older dial-up speeds. This helps people in countries where the internet is mostly available on cell phones with slow speeds.
We also share the audio of our services, along with anything displayed on the computer screen, to YouTube. This is the same video the audience sees during the services. Primarily the viewers see the aforementioned BibleWorks software, usually with three parallel English versions and the Greek. The nice thing about using YouTube is that each lesson is recorded and archived immediately. If someone cannot attend, they can go back and view later.
In September 2010 I began a project to read and record the entire Bible. Though there are many audio Bibles available, I wanted one that I knew would be copyright-free. I chose the King James Version since this is the version I am most familiar with and it is copyright-free. This permits anyone to freely download and distribute the audio files.
I began this recording project with Revelation and concluded with Psalms. I had estimated it would take five to six years for this project, but about two-and-a-half years later I finished recording the Bible. These recordings stream online around the clock. They can be accessed on TuneIn Radio by simply looking for “Church of Christ” and/or “Munfordville.” We often get 1000 or more listeners per week to the non-stop streaming of the Bible text. The only time we do not stream the Bible reading is when we are having services; during that time we stream the audio of our services.
An MP3 file of each chapter of the Bible is freely available on our website to download or stream. The entire Bible is read every 68 hours, then it repeats. The books are read in alphabetical order, which gives a good balance of Old and New Testament books throughout the day.
We have listeners to the streaming Bible readings from all over the world. I have even seen North Korean internet addresses visit our website. I often think about how these copies of the Bible audio will live long after me. They will most likely exist in some form until the end of time. I know that even if only one person is ultimately saved in heaven because of our online efforts, it all has been worth it.
I first started working with computers in mid-1982 right after my graduation from Freed-Hardeman College. I started programming and learning all I could. I am thankful for the knowledge and interest the Lord blessed me with in order to be able to use technology as one means of evangelism.
I encourage more congregations to use what is freely available to help evangelize and encourage members. Even with just a cell phone, one can broadcast the audio (and video if you choose) of a church service to Facebook Live or YouTube. The ability to take the gospel to the entire world is more available than ever before.
There is no substitute to physically going into all the world, but let’s also use the freely available technology to take the gospel to the whole world. There are countries and places we might not ever be able to physically visit, but many of the people there have internet access or will with time. This gives them access to the gospel of Christ which can save their eternal souls.