I am a designer and developer not only by choice–I am a designer and developer by God’s calling. From my personal experience and observations, I feel this world lacks Christian designers, programmers, marketers, videographers, and photographers who have a passion to take their God-given skills and develop, hone, and use them to for His purpose. Many churches either neglect or settle when it comes to the use of media and technology, and we watch a world that so desperately needs God out-design, out-program, and out-market Christians as we proudly distribute ugly tracts embedded with deplorable logos and show off hideous websites, all in the name of Jesus!
“Why did God give me the gifts I have? Am I using the gifts in the manner God would want me to use them?”
All gifts are given by God.
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”—I Corinthians 12:1
Every gift of God is spiritual because it is God-given.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”—I Corinthians 12:4
The kinds of gifts God gives are diverse, but all those kinds of gifts come from the same God.
“And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.”I Corinthians 12:5
There are many different types of ministries/jobs/services, but all those different types come from the same God.
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”—I Corinthians 12:6
There are different ways to of doing things, but all those different types comes from the same God.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”—I Corinthians 12:7
God’s purpose for appointing these diverse gifts, administrations, and operations is to use them to show Himself to us in ways that otherwise would have been hidden to us.
“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”—I Corinthians 12:8-11
These gifts God lists are all given by the same God and He chooses to distribute these gifts according to His own, private (severally) choosing.
I Corinthians 12:12-24, Read verses
Although each body part may have its own specific duty, they all work together as one. There is no body part that serves a greater purpose than another; there is no function of the body that is more important than another.
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”—I Corinthians 12:25-26
There should be no division in the body. When one body part suffers, all the body parts suffer. When one body part is glorified, all the body parts rejoice together.
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”—I Corinthians 12:27-28
All the body parts serve as the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the church. God purposely put these gifted body parts in the church (body of Christ).
“Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?”—I Corinthians 12:29-30
Each person is not given every gift–a hand can’t be an eye; an eye can’t be a foot.
“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”—I Corinthians 12:31
We may covet, desire, or envy that which we may consider to be the “best” gift (i.e. preaching) and may sincerely covet this gift, but God may show us a better, more effective way to accomplish what we He’d want us to do using the gifts He’s given to us.
“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”—I Corinthians 14:1
Our pursuit of charity and gifts should be for the purpose of “prophesy”ing.
Prophesying is partly exercising a God-given gift.
So what exactly is prophesying?
“But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”—I Corinthians 14:3
Prophesying = speaking to men to edify, exhort, and comfort.
“And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?”—I Corinthians 14:7
Speaking doesn’t require it to be a human voice or a country’s national language. This verse indicates that music can also prophesy.
“There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.”—I Corinthians 14:10
Like it was indicated in I Corinthians 12 that there are many different kinds of gifts, duties, and offices, there are also many different kinds of “voices,” or means of communication, and each of these voices are significant.
“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.”—I Corinthians 14:8-9, 11
Granted, the means of communication or the voice you’re using must be understood by the people you are trying to communicate to.
Prophesying = Communicating to men in a means that they can understand to edify, exhort, comfort.
And one who prophesieth builds the church.
“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”—I Corinthians 14:12
In using our God-given gifts, we must use it to not just build the church, but excel when doing so. In order to excel, the gifts should and must be developed, honed and perfected.
“Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.”—I Corinthians 14:22
Creation = “The earth didn’t get its mountains, trees, skies, universe, etc. on its own. God created them.”
Gifts = “Man didn’t get their abilities on their own. God gifted man.”
Tongues = Gifts
Prophesying = Exercising the God-given gift(s) to communicate to men in a means that they can understand to edify, exhort, comfort.
Me, a web designer
I’m thankful that I grew up in an environment that encouraged me to keep developing the art skills my 3rd grade teacher saw in me. I’m glad that my parents continued to encourage and support me to through the development of my art, designing, and computer skills.
It grieves me to know that of the many young, talented, Christian designers, programmers, marketers, videographers, and photographers in the world, many will grow up in an environment that either fails to recognize or neglects to encourage the exploration and development of their talents for the furtherance of the Gospel.
Mediocrity is nauseating. Don’t settle—learn, adapt and improve
However, we must never settle for mediocrity. In an age where technology is rapidly progressing, we must stay sharp, educated, and knowledgeable–methods improve and programming languages grow and evolve. Study, read, practice, and improve.
Modern-day forms of communication
Design, web, video, “technology” in general are all modern-day forms of communication.
i.e. A phone vibrating in your pocket communicates to you that you are receiving a phone call, you received a text message, or someone sent you an email.
It’s foolish to say that one means of communication is insignificant compared to another. I Corinthians 14:10 specifically states there are many different kinds of voices and there is no one type of voice that should be considered insignificant–they are all significant.
36,877,798,000 videos were watched on the Internet in the U.S. just in July 2012. 822,374,895,400 hours of online videos were watched that month.
It’s 2012. Websites, print design, video, mobile apps are a much more acceptable and widely understood means of communication than say, door-to-door sales.
Well-intentioned Christians see and assume the use of technology to be a passive method of spreading the Gospel, when in fact it can be considered more active and effective compared to older, more archaic methods.
Door-to-door sales vs Email marketing
- A consumer does not choose to receive a knock on a door. However, a consumer can choose whether or not to answer the door.
- Although not all consumers choose to receive an email in their inbox, most emails that are opened and read are done by the choice of the consumer.
Outbound vs Inbounding marketing
- Instead of wasting all your efforts by trying to find people, spend most of your efforts to having people find you.
We try to live our lives this way and prefer to live our lives in this manner, but when it comes to evangelism/soul winning, we treat it as a foreign concept.
In this day and age, many times than not, we know what we want and where to get what we want. If we don’t know what we want or where to get what we want, many spend time on Google researching it. How often do we randomly go looking for what we want not knowing what we want randomly in random stores?
Yet we often treat our soul winning efforts in this manner–We choose a random neighborhood, random houses, and start knocking.
Search engines are smarter about what people put in their search box. Why can’t Christians be smarter about who the Gospel is presented?
…on and on and on without going on and on and on.
What about the Great Commission?
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”—Matthew 28:19-20
“Go” doesn’t imply that you must physically be planted at the location you are trying to reach. Just because the technology that exists now didn’t exist when Jesus walked the earth doesn’t automatically exclude it from being a valid method of “going.” If this was the case, missionaries that “go” to the mission field via car and airplanes have already disqualified themselves because cars and airplanes did not exist when Jesus walked the earth. They’re physically there on foot, but they cheated during the process of getting there.
When someone wants to find out more about your church, would you rather…
- Have someone ask about your church?
- Ask someone if they’d like to hear about your church?
The person that asks you about your church is probably more likely to attend.
Would you rather…
- Have someone ask for your church’s website?
- Ask someone to visit your church’s website?
The person that asks you for your church’s website is probably more likely to attend.
The websites that I build, they “Go” every time someone accesses it. When a person visits the website, it digitally travels from web server, through the ethernet cables, out the building, across the country or world via the cables laid underground or overground, through the person’s cable line, through their cable box, through their router, through their ethernet cable, into their computer, and onto their computer screen.
The HTML and CSS languages I coded and graphics I created to compile the websites were “spoken in a tongue” as a “voice” and interpreted by the computer’s internet browser (Google Chrome, Safari, etc.) into a means that is understood by the user through visual communication.
- HTML and CSS = Tongues
- Website = One type of voice
- Web browser = Interpreter
Words, colors, designs and videos can all invoke emotion just like a song sung by an artist or a sermon given by a pastor.
Sounds a little like prophesying? Yeah, because it is.
Not saying or even subtly implying that door-to-door soul winning or other means of evangelism should be abandoned; however, these means of evangelism should not only be considered but heavily practiced and highly invested in churches.
*comScore Releases July 2012 U.S. Online Video Rankings: Source