In the city of Living Spring, a Pastor named Pastor Jones sat in front of his computer at home. He was looking at the number of page views of his ministry’s website and it really wasn’t encouraging. He was 65 years old and he had read and learnt a lot about the internet and this whole new cyber world than even the average teen whose generation the technology belonged to.
Pastor Jones was married to the beautiful and wise Pastor Juliet. They had been married for 35 years and so their love burned stronger than strong and had been burning too long to ever go off.
They both loved each other with all their hearts and in all their years together neither one had ever considering having an affair. Not because they are stronger Christians than everybody else but because they always spent enough time fellowshipping with the word of God daily. So the very mindset that God wants us to have had been so mingled with their minds that they had been transformed by the renewing of their minds. And on another note, why would either of them look anywhere else for sensual pleasure when they both knew that the ring on their finger was a testimony of the true jewel they had at home? No man or woman who has a most delicious meal on their plate in their bedroom would go outside to the garbage can to look for crumbs of bread to eat.
Anybody who said that Pastor Jones and Pastor Juliet werent enjoying their marriage to the max because they were married didn’t have a clue. Such people also dont have a clue that when you are in Christ, he blesses you in every area of your life and in everything that concerns you past the max level, because our God is a God of super abundance. He is a God of blessing to over – flowing. He is a God of excess.
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Anybody who thinks that a marriage without Christ can be more blissful than a marriage with Christ doesn’t have a clue.
Anyway, Pastor Jones faced a problem and it definitely had nothing to do with his blissful marriage. The problem was that his congregation wasn’t growing even though it wasn’t decreasing either.
Pastor Jones had done everything Pastorally possible to grow his congregation but nothing was working.
He had done everything he had learnt many years ago in ministerial school and had even read new books on how a Pastor can reach out to more people in his community in new ways like using the internet, yet he was not growing even though the population of the city was growing. He didn’t have mega Pastor money so he couldn’t afford to pay mega money for air time on regular TV channels much less the really big Christian ones.
Pastor Jones and Pastor Juliet had 3 teenage kids. One girl and two boys. They were all devout Christians.
Pastor Jones teenage daughter told him to start doing a video podcast where he can preach the gospel from his home using any device that has a camera and post it online for people to see. She told him that a lot of people spend more time online than they spend doing anything else.
Pastor Jones agreed with what his daughter said. At first he wanted to just make webcam videos and post them across his ministry’s website as well as all the video sites that are popular that his ministry has a profile on, but as Pastor Jones saw that many people were doing that; he felt that he should do something a little extra so Pastor Jones spent a lot of time in Prayer about it.
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A few days later, Pastor Jones was trying to now take the ideas that God had put in his head and bring them into reality.
The original idea that God had given him developed into the, STRAIGHT FROM A MINISTER’S HOME video podcast.
Unlike buying TV air it would cost him nothing, and what’s more he wouldn’t have to tell the rest of the Pastoral board of his church to get their approval even though he was just going to inform them for their prayers and out of courtesy.
The idea was to have a 30 minutes program that would introduce the world to their family. Although on the surface it had the feel of a reality show about a Pastor and his family it really wasn’t about that.
The show was to have a personal homemade video feel. It was to have every member of his family talk about how they spent their day and the lessons they had learnt through the day. It was kinda like a video diary of every member of his Christian family sharing everyday challenges and everyday victories that they encountered everyday in todays world; in their real lives as they each went through their personal journey with God. They didn’t have to share everything that happened in their day but certainly there is at least one thing that happens in everybody’s day that everybody in the world can learn from even though it maybe a lesson that some have heard before. They were encouraged to add footage from their mobile phones to help people also see what they were talking about if they happened to record that particular thing they were talking about when it happened, using their mobile phone. It didn’t matter if the footage was shaky or poorly shot. It would only make it look more realistic.
The whole think was to be edited and mixed together into a 15 minutes video and the remaining 15 minutes will comprise of Pastor Jones and Pastor Juliet sitting or standing together at any part of their house and talking about their day, quickly airing their views on the lessons to learn from what went on in their kids lives thereby approving, correcting and adding more to the lessons that their kids said they learnt. Then from all the information gathered throughout the mixture of all their video diaries; Pastor Jones and Pastor Juliet would preach a sermon together until what’s left of the 30 minutes is up. Then at the end of the video there would be a text scrolling prayer of salvation on the screen, followed by the address of the church they Pastor.
When the idea developed to this stage Pastor Jones told his wife about it and she was totally excited about it. She jumped up and down about it, then she hugged him: her big teddy bear.
Pastor Jones called his two sons plus his teenage daughter who had told him to post videos online and he told them about what he was planning. His daughter was surprised that the idea had turned into all the things that her Dad was now planning to do but she loved it and her brothers loved it too. They even began to come up with ideas of how cool and awesome they would make their own video diary portion of the 30 minutes video look.
Pastor Juliet said that they should feel free to be flexible but they should remember that it is not acting. They shouldn’t put up an imagine that is not an accurate representation of themselves. It wasn’t entertainment they were doing even though it might look like it to some. It was ministry that they were doing. What they were going to do was going to reach out to people on a special, personal and Real level that was going to heal hurts that might have been hurting for ages in different people in different parts of the world.
The whole family took the whole project seriously and they soon had the, STRAIGHT FROM A MINSTERS HOME video podcast; live and kicking on the internet.
The did it daily and with a lot of enthusiasm. However, a few days later they realized that they had only gathered 10 views after 3 days of work. It was very discouraging giving the amount of time they put into it. However, Pastor Jones told himself that it is a gradual process that over time it would improve.
Two weeks later, all the previous videos plus the new videos had only gathered 12 views.
Pastor Jones was utterly downcast and the rest of their family began to get discouraged.
Soon, even though they were supposed to do the video podcast daily they were now doing it at odd frequencies. Sometimes 2 times a week, sometimes 3 times a week and some weeks they would even skip it then all of a sudden come back with like 3 videos for 3 successive days to talk about all that had happened since.
The kids even lost their enthusiasm to get their video diaries done. You could see that they even spoke with a lot less devotion in the videos.
The STRAIGHT FROM A MINISTER’S HOME video podcasts soon became more of a casual tradition in their home more than anything else.
Pastor Jones and Pastor Juliet’s congregation still remained at the size it did since they started making the videos. But the population of the city kept increasing. Pastor Jones went back on his knees to pray for an idea to make his church grow. He prayed and prayed and prayed and it seemed like he wasnt getting any answer from God.
Interestingly; the day after that, his congregation started to decrease.
Pastor Jones began to worry and pray about what was happening to his congregation and things escalated when the Pastoral board had a meeting about it.
After the meeting, a member of the Pastoral board paid him a visit at home and said that he didnt want to say anything at the meeting but they are talking behind the scenes about relocating him and his family to another branch of the church in another city.
Pastor Jones thanked the member of the board for telling him what was really going on. Then as soon as he left, Pastor Jones went into his room, got on his knees and started crying. He was a grown man, but sometimes grown men cry too.
Pastor Jones cried in secret. He didn’t know if he would tell his wife what that one member of the board had just told him. Whatever would he do? It had been long since he had been posted here, he can’t just tell his family that they should back their bags and leave for another city. They had already made their homes here. This city meant a lot to them.
How would his kids take it? They loved his city. They had built their lives in this city. Pastor Jones taught about the video diaries that his children made. The reels of all the people they came in contact with, all the people whose lives they’ve touched, all the people who has in turn touched their lives and all the lessons that they had learnt along the way; brought even more tears to his eyes. Those video diaries of his kids where now more precious to him than ever before.
Suddenly, God dropped a thought in his head. God gave him the idea of doing a video diary of what he was going through and feeling right then and there, and then he should add it to the next STRAIGHT FROM A MINSTERS HOME video podcast.
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Pastor Jones did it. After he did it, God started pouring more thoughts and instructions into his head.
God revealed to him that he should regain his enthusiasm for the podcast because he should know that any God given idea that God says would produce a certain result would produce that result whether anyone likes it or not. Just like God’s word does not fall to the ground without accomplishing what God has sent it forth to produce, in the same way; a God given idea does not fall to the ground without producing the result that God said it would produce. The only problem can come when the person God gave the idea is not carrying out the idea using God’s instructions or the instructions God expects the person to use.
Under divine direction, Pastor Jones understood that he had to tell his congregation about the podcast, Give out free flyers about the podcast, Give out free calendars about the podcasts, Give out free T-Shirts about the podcast, Get the podcast on iTunes not only video sharing sites, Buy ad space on popular websites and also do everything else that the money he currently has can do to get word about the podcast out there.
As Pastor Jones started doing these things as the days went by. Even his kids caught a new fire for the podcast. They never left the house without their T-Shirts about the podcast on. They even had an idea of their own and pooled together their pocket money to make custom bangles and wrist bands about the podcast which they distributed amongst their friends and enemies in school.
In a matter of weeks, the videos started getting as many as 700 views a day. Soon it went to an average of 60,000 views a day.
Tons and tons of people who were getting blessed by the podcasts started sending in questions upon questions and where seeking advise concerning what they were going through in their daily lives.
The Pastor’s family had to try and squeeze in an Ask Us segment at the end of the podcast where they answer only two deep and serious questions of peoples problems sent to them via e-mail.
They even had to create a telephone hotline team within their church for people who had problems to call and ask for advise.
The congregation started to grow and it was growing at an exponential rate. Soon the church building wasn’t big enough to hold them and so they had to have two services on Sunday. More people kept getting blessed by both the sermons in church and the video podcasts so they soon grew to three services every Sunday and they had to start thinking of getting a bigger auditorium.
The average daily viewership of the podcast kept growing incredibly and more people started talking about it online and sharing links of each new video with their various online friends.
The police department issued a report that the crime rate in the city of Living Spring had dramatically decreased, even the divorce rate dropped to only one person since the Pastor’s church started to grow.
At one service, as Pastor Jones preached he almost came to tears but fought them back as he gave his personal testimony about his church’s growth.
It was a deeply moving service and everybody was grateful to God for what he had done in the Pastors life.
After he finished preaching and he walked back to this seat beside his wife’s seat, his wife stood up and hugged him. Then she slipped a letter she had just received into his hands. God wasn’t through blessing them yet.
Pastor Jones opened the letter to see that the biggest Christian TV channel in the country wanted his 30 minutes video podcast to have 30 minutes airtime everyday on their TV channel and they would also be sending him better equipment, he wouldn’t have to pay a dime.