1st Century Model for Christian Media

This is old news, but until this past Sunday evening I had never heard of Matt Heerema of Desiring God Ministries or the out-of-the-norm approach their ministry has taken to making content available on their website.  Matt showed up at a Tweetup at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention shortly before his keynote address, and if it weren’t for him it would have continued to be an awkward mess. Matt’s passion and skill in marrying internet tools and the mission of Christians was immediately evident and his vigor for the Word of God is unmistakeable – a trait that is wildly vacant from the lives of many young Christians, admittedly including myself.

During a panel-style keynote address hosted by Bob Lepine of Family Life, Matt Heerema and DJ Chuang discussed the influence of New Media on modern ministry and its integration into traditional media like radio, television, and print. One of the most energized topics was the approach that Desiring God has taken to delivering content on the web.  Three years ago the decision was made to pull John Piper’s radio broadcast from the airwaves and make the move to distributing content solely online. Taking it a step further, the team at Desiring God made the ministry’s entire catalog of content available for free – no holds barred. No membership, no credit card information, no surveys – nothing was to stand in the way of people receiving over thirty years of quality Christian audio, video, and text-based content.

What stood out to me the most was Matt’s intrepid delivery of a principle that we often forget in the bustle of online media.  It’s not about the media – it’s about The Message. Passionately citing a passage from 2 Corinthians 9: 8-10, Matt revolutionized my  personal view of ministry and the truth behind motives of giving and receiving, even in ministry capacity.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness…

I really appreciate what is communicated in this passage – God supplies to us in order that we might supply others. And as we do so, God will continue to re-supply us. God’s blessing will never tire, so long as we are doing what His will is for us. And if the well dries up, it is a signal that God has a different task for us. God’s many promises of prosperity throughout the Bible are a reflection of His desire for us to obey Him so that He may fulfill the desires of our heart, so that in turn we will pour it back out on all around us. We are not vessels made to endlessly retain His blessings. We are made to spill them over and flood the world around us.

It reminds me of those many cartoons who get shot by a tommy-gun and then pick up a bottle of whiskey marked with ‘XXX’ and begin chugging. And just as soon as the stuff goes down, it starts pouring out of a hundred holes in his body. Classic stuff, really. But that’s what I think of. Even when I’m getting pelted by the world with bullets and arrows, I want to be the kind of Christian that lets God’s blessings and promises pour out of my wounds to heal those around me.

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