Baptist Press: FIRST-PERSON: Everything is different, but nothing has changed

EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) — Steve Jobs didn’t have a lot to say. He didn’t give a lot of speeches except for the now-famous 2005 graduation address at Stanford University. He was a private man.

Yet Jobs was one of history’s greatest communicators, for he changed the history of communication itself. Jobs’ mission was delivering as much content as possible to as many people as possible, as quickly, as portably and as affordably as possible.

Jobs wasn’t a perfect man, but perhaps his commitment to his mission will remind us of our commitment to ours. We’re to rededicate ourselves every day to deliver the Gospel to as many people possible, as quickly as possible, and as portably and affordably as possible. We’re to go into this world and preach the Gospel to every person.

What is different?

As I study the history of evangelism, I’m impressed that Christians have always used the most advanced technologies of their day to deliver the Gospel, starting with the apostle Paul. Though the world changed little in his day, Paul took advantage of even the smallest technological advancements. He used papyrus instead of parchment. Roman roads instead of self-made trails. Roman ships instead of inland routes. Gentile agoras in addition to Jewish synagogues. Greek in addition to Hebrew.

Paul used every means available to him, not compromising his morals or his message, but adapting his methods to ensure the greatest possible success. He was aware of his audience and took a variety of approaches as he spoke to Jews in the synagogue, Gentiles in the arena, philosophers in the marketplace, or despots in the palace.

Since New Testament days, Christians have followed His example in using “all means” to spread the Gospel.

In the 1400s, Johannes Gutenberg changed the world with his printing press. The first book that rolled out of its movable type? The Bible.

In 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message from the chambers of the Supreme Court to the halls of Congress. The message? A Bible verse, Numbers 23:23.

After the discovery of radio, Christians began utilizing this new medium to spread the Gospel two months after public broadcasts began.

Each new chapter of our expanding technology — the Internet, for example — allows us to reach more people with the message of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ.

Read more at FIRST-PERSON: Everything is different, but nothing has changed.