Mark Burnett produced “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “Shark Tank,” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” Now he has created a television series that may be seen by a billion people over the next 30 years.
“The Bible” launched last Sunday night on the History Channel and will run for five weeks. Burnett spent four years on the project. He was joined by Roma Downey, his wife and star of “Touched By An Angel.” The miniseries will be released on DVD; Burnett and Downey have written companion books as well as curricula for schools and church groups. Their project has been endorsed by Rick Warren and Focus on the Family, among others.
Burnett and Downey are an example of Christians who are finding creative ways to use contemporary media for God’s Kingdom. Here’s another: A Twitter campaign initiated by the American Center for Law and Justice reached three million followers and helped secure the release of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. The ACLJ’s executive director says that this campaign “is an example of how the world can join together to ensure that justice is served and freedom preserved.”
The Arab Spring would not have been possible without social media. An activist in Egypt explained: “We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.” When Justin Bieber used Instagram to promote his pastor’s book, his endorsement helped it rise to #13 on Amazon’s Christian best-sellers list.
An average Facebook user has 130 friends; 23 percent of Facebook users check their account five or more times each day. The average Twitter user follows (or is followed by) 51 people. The fact that you’re reading this Cultural Commentary by email or on our website indicates your engagement with digital media. Have you asked God to show you more ways you could use your influence for his Kingdom?
If you use Facebook or Twitter, do you tell your friends and followers that you follow Jesus? Do you forward emails such as this one, or send links to other content that glorifies God? We are on Facebook and Twitter—I invite you to join us. The technological revolution of our day is the greatest advance in communication since the Gutenberg press. Will God say that you were faithful to use these tools for his glory?
Luke 8:1 says that “Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.” What he did by foot, we can do by technology. Our message is still “good news.” Who will hear it from you today?