Dear Family and Friends:
Just imagine if we had to build the Internet from scratch, so that we could have the best means ever created for reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Even if we were given the design for it all, and the resources to create it, how could we get an audience? Or get people to purchase an Internet-ready device?
Today it’s common for people all over the world to have the Internet in their pockets. We didn’t create it, we didn’t have to convince people to participate in it, and we don’t have to keep it going.
How might the future look? Instant feedback from webpages make advertisers want that for their television commercials, their billboards, their radio spots. Cable or satellite television already often provides our Internet and telephone. Gaming consoles connect to the Internet for on-demand download and sharing of photographs. Cellular telephones come with data plans, can take photographs, play music and movies. Satellite radio comes into our automobiles. GPS tells us where to drive.
Imagine a world in which a single hand-held device performed all of those functions. Advertisers would finally be able to get their hands on all our data: our personal preferences about every product we consume. In fact, if you have a “Google” account, and use it for mapping, e-mail, finding local movies, shopping, blogging and other “apps,” storing photos online and/or searching the web, you have already established a record of a number of your activities and preferences for them.
Companies like Google are driving the technology which makes it possible for us to not only expose every person on earth multiple times to the gospel, but to allow them to inform us of their decisions as they make them. They find the authentic gospel message through our websites because they’re looking for it. When they react, we have a record of their reaction. Because of this quick feedback, we can make small adjustments to see how it affects understanding and participation.
A company called “O3b Networks,” partially funded by Google, plans to provide low-cost, high-speed Internet to developing countries all over the world: the “Other 3 Billion” who don’t currently enjoy the connectivity available in the developed world.
These amazing trends which we thankfully didn’t have to innovate, fund or market, have a lot to do with why our ministry was able to reach over 3 times as many for Christ in 2009 as in 2008, with only 25% more funding at the central level.
With hindsight on the Reformation, it’s easy to see how God’s hand was in the convergence of desire in his people to get the Bible out to people and in the revolutionary invention of the printing press.
Today we need foresight, like the sons of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32. We’re being given unprecedented means to reach individuals—and provide them significant assistance—as they experience the gospel and consider what it means to truly follow Christ. In Nehemiah 8:8, the Bible says:
“They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.” (Nehemiah 8:8)
Jesus said (Matthew 28:20) we are to make disciples,
“…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you”
We’ve grown to a staff of about 60 full-time workers, with about 4,000 volunteer “Online Missionaries.”
We truly are a Global Media Outreach. The future may see us beginning divisions that look more like a radio station or TV studio than a cubicle. We may need to be (or know) writers, directors, editors and on-air personalities, in addition to web programmers.
We’re praying that in 2010 our volunteers will do an even better job making discipleship clear and giving the meaning with our goal of reaching 15 million than we did with the 10½ million we were given in 2009. God is giving us the opportunity of a lifetime—no, of a millennium—and we want to do the best that can be done with what we have been given. “Jesus 2020” is a vision that everyone on earth would be given multiple opportunities to say “yes” to Jesus by the year 2020.
As you join us in prayer that everything would come into place for that to happen, check our website regularly to track progress toward these goals:
You are part of how God is making this vision a reality. Thank you for your sacrificial gifts, your prayers, and your friendship!
P.S. Please see our latest photos!
Mike and Cindy Skinner
“One day closer!” (Romans 13:11)