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Taking the You out of the Tube

Vanity may not be the only reason for posting videos online. Some Christians are exploring ways to use Web-sharing for ministry.

“If I’m putting something on YouTube to glorify myself, that’s not a good reason for a Christian to do something,” says Mark Kellner, author of God on the Internet. “Glorifying God and reaching others should be the motives.”

Kellner says Web video, like other Internet technologies, has the potential to reach a vast and diverse audience with the gospel.

“This is a world where a lot of people are disconnected from the traditional church and Christian viewpoint,” Kellner says. “There needs to be something out there when somebody’s seeking.”

A recent search of “Christianity” on YouTube yielded 523,000 results. Some of the videos were meant to mock Christianity, but others appeared sincere. Several featured brief gospel presentations and a sinner’s prayer.

There were more than 7,000 search results for “Assemblies of God,” including videos featuring congregational worship, teen dramas and ads for individual churches and church ministries.

“No one can know with certainty the ultimate impact of a video,” Kellner says. “You don’t know who you will reach or how they will respond.”

In 2007, Chris Wyatt, a professing Christian, launched GodTube, a video-sharing and social networking Web site. Created in response to YouTube’s popularity, the site allows only faith-based and family-friendly videos. According to the site, more than 20 million visitors have logged on.

“Our goal is to develop the ministry of every member to the benefit of all,” the site says. “We feel we are held accountable to help people connect with Jesus Christ and experience the gift of eternal life.”

The Assemblies of God is expanding the video selection offered at its Web site, ag.org. Visitors can now view Fellowship news, headquarters chapel services, comments from the general superintendent and videos highlighting various AG ministries.

— Christina Quick

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