A Powerful Ministry Tool
Just think for a moment. What would you consider the most effective media outreach tool available to your church today? Would you say, tracts, radio, TV, Internet or possibly video?
Surprising new research has shown that one of the most basic of church media audio tapes is an incredibly effective outreach tool that is often overlooked.
One Example of TV vs. Tapes
The leadership of Christ Community Church in Pennsylvania had a vision for TV outreach. When they reached 750 members they began to broadcast their services on television. The leadership of the church envisioned great things for the kingdom of God and expected to bear much fruit through their TV ministry. However, this was not the case. Instead of bearing fruit, their television outreach became a drain on the church’s finances.
“We used to broadcast our services on TV,” said Pastor Steve Boyer from Christ Community Church in Pennsylvania, “which cost us over $250,000 per year. Our cassette tape ministry costs us nothing and actually adds income to the church. With the surplus money, we’ve been able to give away even more tapes and have updated our sound equipment. In fact, our cassette tape ministry has produced lasting results that far exceed those of our TV broadcasts because giving someone a cassette tape is targeted, compassionate and much more personal. This is grass-roots evangelism at its best. I praise God for the life-changing results that we are seeing as He is multiplying the impact of our church through our cassette tape ministry.”
Since discontinuing their TV outreach and focusing on tapes as a primary outreach tool, Christ Community has grown to over 2,200 weekly attendees. Pastor Steve Boyer attributes much of this increased attendance to their growing tape ministry.
“When we started to put a strong emphasis on our tape ministry two years ago, we invested in the best equipment available. We have 12 Sony tape duplicators cranking out tapes after every service. Our people really have a vision for reaching the lost through tapes. Many purchase 4, 5 or 6 tapes at a time and give them to their family, friends, and neighbors; and many, many people in our church have come in through the tape ministry,” says Pastor Steve.
Television outreach is expensive and often yields dismal results when compared to an effective tape ministry. Most unsaved people simply do not tune into Christian broadcasts. Tape ministry can be self-supporting and can yield fantastic results, because tapes are usually given through personal contact. Unsaved people are very interested to hear a tape when it is given to them by someone who cares. I continually get reports of lives being changed through the use of tapes. Here is one such story which recently came from Vermont.
The Personal Touch of Tapes
Judy Kennedy of St. Johnsbury in Vermont says: “My friend Marylyn gave me a few tapes from her church. Every time I listened to them I began to weep. I sensed the Holy Spirit in the room with me. I didn’t want to do anything but listen to the tapes because I felt the Lord’s presence through them. The Lord was drawing me and I wanted to know how to become a Christian. Just two days later I met with Marylyn and her pastor and made Jesus my Lord and Savior. Now I am using tapes to reach others for Christ. I praise God for the gift of tapes and my new life!”
Studies reveal that the vast majority of the people who have repented and have become true Christians did so because a friend reached out to them. Impersonal outreach does little to promote the gospel. Unfortunately, most Christians in the U.S. are not effective in proclaiming the gospel to those with whom they normally interact on a regular basis. Tapes are a perfect solution to this problem! Christians can pass out tapes to the people they know and let the preacher do the preaching. The gift of a tape combines a compassionate personal contact with a clear presentation of the Gospel.
Tapes Changed my life
Three years ago, street evangelist Bryan Showvaker from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was living for himself. During that time he thought that he was a Christian. All that changed when someone gave him a powerful tape.
“I got serious about God and gave Him my life as a result of someone giving me a tape. It caused me to stop what I was doing as I realized that I was on my way to hell. It turned my life around and caused me to repent. I now use tapes extensively in reaching out to others. I’ve sent around 500 tapes to everyone I know. I’ve also given out thousands more to the people that I come in contact with every day. I give them out at gas stations and everywhere I go. I give them out in Baltimore and Philadelphia as I minister on the streets. People come up and say, “Hey, can I have a tape?” They are so eager to get one! Baltimore is called ‘the city that reads’ and yet most people are not interested in the books and tracts that I have for them. They just want the tapes. These tapes have produced tremendous results. For example, I gave one to my uncle a couple of years ago, and it caused him to repent and he was born again. He is still serving God today. ”
Tapes vs. Tracts
Handing out tapes rather than tracts produce better results because tapes are seen as a gift of greater value and therefore appreciated. More Christians are getting involved in handing out tapes because they see how well received they are. Tapes make witnessing easy and fun!
People are saturated with printed material these days and yet have very little time to read it. The beauty of tapes is that they can minister to people while they are doing other things, whether they are in their cars, at home, or at work. Also, since tapes are much more inclined to get passed on to others than tracts, God’s word can reach much farther through them.
Tapes are an incredible tool to help your whole church maximize its effectiveness. Making quality tapes of the message available to the people right after the service can be one of the most vital and powerful ministries of your church! It does, however, take the pastor’s enthusiastic leadership and commitment, as well as a detailed knowledge of the process, to succeed. God bless you as you endeavor to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and share His gospel with others.