Posted by: sdunnpastor | October 6, 2010

CONNECTING EVERYONE ON THE EARTH BY 2015 AND WHAT IT MEANS TO THE CHURCH

Gordon Marcy is a media and communications executive with two decades experience building media platforms for greater Kingdom impact.  He is focused on the intersection of communication technologies and church growth. He can be reached at gordon@gordonmarcy.com. Several months ago he shared these observations on Church Central.  He shares some the big reasons why the ERC has made GMO one of the chieft emerging tools we promote for evangelism. – Steve

By 2015 there will be WiFi everywhere on the face of the earth,” observed Walt Wilson, founder and CEO of Global Media Outreach during Biola University’s recent iSummit. A communication system that would eventually connect everyone on earth has been talked about for nearly two decades.

Frankly though, since researchers estimate around 3 billion people still do NOT have Internet access, it’s been a challenge to explain Wilson’s timetable.

If completion of the biggest construction job in history is in sight, I figured it had to be in the news. It didn’t take much digging to unearth some eye-popping developments.

Recent developments in mobile web technology

  • China will have more mobile Internet users than the entire population of the US (310 million) by 2010. (eMarketer) The number will grow fast to reach a staggering 957 million, and the country will count approximately 1.3 billion mobile subscribers by 2014. (TechCrunch)
  • India is set to embark on an ambitious scheme to provide all its 630,000 villages, no matter how remote, with broadband internet access. A deadline of May 2012 has been set for giving broadband access to every village with a population of more than 300 people. (Times Online)
  • UK-based satellite startup O3b says its project to bring internet access to 3 billion people in more than 150 countries is going according to plan and remains focused in 2010 on sticking to its timetable to launch its first eight satellites. The company, named after the “other 3 billion” is being funded principally by Google, Liberty Global and HSBC Principal Investments. (Business News Americas)

Technically speaking, I now understand what Walt Wilson, a former Apple executive, meant when he said, “To get mobile devices in the hands of every human being, the distribution problem is not economic, it’s infrastructure. And, we see the infrastructure problem being resolved.”

What does connecting everyone on earth mean for the Church and Christian communicators?

In his speech at Biola, Walt Wilson answered.

“We are the first generation in all of human history to hold within our hands the technology to reach every man, woman, and child on the earth by 2020. Our generation has within its grasp everything that is required to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Eight things I learned from watching Walt’s speech

1. God is creating the global network. Google and company may be paying for the infrastructure but, “All things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)

2. God’s purpose is clear. The gospel and truths of the Bible must be communicated. It’s a reason for connecting everyone on earth that most Christians should be able to agree on. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

3. The church is not immune from change. Entire industries are being reshaped. It wasn’t that long ago that we listened to music on tapes and then CD’s. Apple’s iTunes is now the number 1 music retailer in the world. It’s time for the church to make an all out effort to understand how the globalization of communication will affect the way evangelism, discipleship and building the church is done.

4. Global is the new local. Technology has made it easier to meet needs and develop relationships anywhere in the world. When people in India, using their high-speed cellphones to search for answers to their spiritual questions, get connected to Christians in Indiana, what does the “local” in “local church” mean?

5. Anyone can become an online missionary. Churches will continue to send missionaries and partner with congregations overseas. But computer technology has opened the door for people from all backgrounds to be stay-at-home missionaries. “I can tell you that this is one of the most exciting things that I have ever been a part of in my 40 years of ministry. God is inviting us to be a part of something that is simply amazing!” – Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Online Missionary and Senior Pastor of Northland Church, Orlando, Florida

6. Internet evangelism is efficient. One of the biggest challenges for long-term missionaries or short-term missions volunteers has always been the need to raise thousands of dollars in financial support to fund their efforts. Online missionaries for Global Media Outreach present the gospel for 10 cents and a decision runs 65 cents. As Wilson puts it, “The value of a human soul can’t be calculated. But we’re also stewards of the resources God has given to us and 65 cents a decision is a pretty good deal.”

7. A call for global partnerships. There has never been more opportunity or greater purpose for churches, ministries and organizations to work together. Bobby Gruenewald, Pastor and Innovation Leader at LifeChurch.tv said, “If we were truly united, I believe the Great Commission could be fulfilled within our lifetime. The Church has the resources and the connectivity to make that happen if we’re all pulling together.”

8. Building better models requires experimentation. Instead of hunkering down to wait until the storm of change blows over or freezing current ministry models trying to play it safe, “We create a future by experimenting,” says Wilson.We may have some experiments to go south. God will not fail us in the long-term. The Gospel will not fail us.”

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