Early Christians were early adopters of emerging technologies. They were quick to embrace the codex, which allowed for (to use modern terms) more efficient data storage and transfer. The books that would form the Bible were easier to study and transport in codices than in scrolls. Advances in road making, ship making, and navigation powered the earliest missionaries in their efforts to carry the gospel to new lands—just as advances in steamships, railroads, and aviation would power waves of missionaries centuries later.
Storytelling technologies, in particular, have always been essential tools in the redemption of the world. There was the printing press, of course. But in medieval times, there were also illuminated manuscripts and stained glass that brought biblical stories to life for the illiterate majorities. More recently, evangelists such as D. L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham reached millions through radio and television broadcasts. And the Jesus film has been an extraordinary evangelistic tool.
I have often wondered: If Graham had founded Christianity Today here in the 21st century, what would it look like? How might it leverage today’s technologies? CT started as a print magazine. It remains a print magazine we love. It is also more.
I want to introduce you to CT Media, a new strategic initiative devoted to the question “What does our mission require of us today, when new and emerging technologies allow us to reach not only hundreds of thousands per month through the printed word but millions per month through multimedia content distributed digitally?” If we want the depth and the breadth of Christianity Today to reach younger audiences, more diverse audiences, and more global audiences, then we must develop the kinds of media those audiences are most likely to consume. This is not a matter of bending to cultural trends. It’s a matter of using every tool at our disposal to advance the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
To that end, we have created a new position of chief creative officer and hired the outstanding Erik Petrik for the role. We are ramping up our podcast operations with the addition of Mike Cosper as our director of podcasting, and soon we will be adding capacity in video storytelling. Expect to see more multimedia journalism and thought pieces from our extraordinary team later this year.
Of course, maintaining our high standards of excellence as we branch into new media is not cheap. It’s incredibly important that we continue to receive the support of our faithful readers and friends. If you are not already doing so, please consider supporting us as we follow God’s calling upon this ministry. Rapid shifts in media technologies require new investments and an agile organization, but they also open up entirely new fields for expanding and serving the kingdom of God.
Timothy Dalrymple is president and CEO of Christianity Today. Follow him on Twitter @TimDalrymple_.
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