How should Christians use Google to preach the Gospel?

Have you seen Current TV yet? Although not on all cable and satellite networks just yet, Current TV represents a paradigm shift in how we will see television. Viewers upload their short less-than-ten-minute-long documentaries to the Current TV website. Viewers then vote on what “pods” should be broadcast on cable television.

You can see where this is headed when you realize that Google just bought YouTube.com and it soon vaulted to one of the top ten ranked websites. The way we will view television in a few years may be based on RSS “feeds” rather than a schedule of programs on certain channels. TiVo and other DVR cable and satellite services are part of this shift. In a short time, you will be able to view a channel that has both video on demand and scheduled programming.

A friend of mine recently responded to my gushing over the ability to create a Forerunner TV channel using YouTube as a host.

“How should Christians use Google to preach the Gospel?” he asked.

I first assumed he meant that Google is evil and I shouldn’t publish my videos there. Later I found out it was a sincere question. Most likely I took a defensive posture because I know all too well that most media conglomerates don’t promote anything like a Christian agenda. I’ve had similar comments about the recent monetization of the Forerunner.com website. Since 1996, I had just plain text on most pages. Now Google ads, DVD ads, and embedded YouTube videos abound. Some claim to be offended by the overt commercialization of the site. Google also pays me a few hundred dollars a month for the Google Ads you see on nearly every page on the https://www.forerunner.com website.

It does cost money to do all this and after all is said and done, I’d like to do much better than break even. My goal is to have a great impact for the Gospel through the media and to do that, I need to increase our budget.

Why should I use the Internet? Why should I use video at all? Should Christians not use the media? In my view, not using Google’s new services would be like having a Christian TV station that doesn’t broadcast. Podcasts and feeds are the direction in which all media is headed. I would be foolish not to go that way too.

Since 1993, I’ve had a dream to produce a weekly web-based television program. The technology to do this has been available for years. However, in the last year or so we have turned the corner. Already the number of people viewing video blogs and web based TV channels is in the tens of millions.

The reasons I decided to use YouTube to take advantage of this phenomenon:

1. YouTube is free. You can register and start podcasting your videos in just a few minutes.
2. It is one of the highest ranked websites on the Internet.
3. So many people are viewing videos on YouTube that it has created V-log stars overnight.
4. Some Podcasts are viewed by more people than most successful television shows.
5. Google is exploding right now and I intend to ride the Google bubble until it bursts.
6. It takes a lot of server space and extra money to stream large video files from my own site.
7. The traffic I get on YouTube is tremendous compared to the same videos posted on my own web pages.

If you decide to do your own Podcast in audio or video format, you will want to use a service that publishes and promotes your Podcast. You will get a larger, more immediate audience.

I began to realize the obvious only within the last few months. I was stuck in the 1996 Internet paradigm and I’ve just now begun to make the shift.

I publish my own RSS feeds, but I would have to do an incredible amount of advertising in order to equal what I get just by being on YouTube. In fact, my plan is to publish everything both at my website and through secondary RSS feed sites.

I use Google to publish my Blog at Blogger.com. The RSS feed is served from my website, but gets indexed faster and ranked higher if I publish it via Google.

I am looking at publishing my Podcasts to Apple ITunes as well — for all the same reasons. The idea is to take advantage of all media that is available to reach the most people.

Your comments are welcome

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