YouTube was founded in 2005. Today, 16 years later, 82 years worth of video content is uploaded to YouTube every day (or 500 hours every minute). To put that in perspective, you could grow up, go to school, get married, become an anthropologist, have two kids, watch them grow up, and babysit your grandkids, and still not have watched all the videos that are uploaded to YouTube in just one day.1
Just 15 years ago, newly created Facebook opened its platform to anyone 13 years and older with a valid email address. In the first quarter of 2021, Facebook clocked in at 2.85 billion active users.2 Instagram was released less than 15 years ago, and it currently has roughly one billion users.3 The short-form video sharing social media platform TikTok has now exploded to one billion users and it was created only five years ago.4
82 years worth of video content is uploaded to YouTube every day…
The rise in technological advancements isn’t limited to westernized countries though. Many developing countries such as Ghana, India, and Malawi have doubled their number of Internet users in just the last three years.5 It’s estimated now that 4.66 billion people have access to the internet today. That’s over half the planet’s population.
The world has changed, and continues to change—fast. Everyone has a device in their hand.
Embedded in the DNA of the gospel commission is the command to go to people in order to reach them for Jesus. This involves movement, adaptation, and change on the part of Jesus’ followers. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. If we look in Scripture, we see that adaptation is part of who God is.
When God sat down to figure out how to save humanity, should people choose to sin, His strategy centered on the incarnation—God changing, not in character but substance, and becoming flesh, becoming one of us. He made not just a geographic journey from heaven to earth but the ontological journey from being God to being the God-man—fully divine and yet fully human. God had never become a human being before. He didn’t ask us to come up to Him. Instead, He came down to where we are. John writes that God “moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, MSG).
Then Jesus left us with this thing called the Great Commission, where He called each of His followers to “go.” We can’t sit and wait around for people to come to us. We need to go to them with the good news that God is more beautiful than they could ever imagine and He has rescued humanity.
He didn’t ask us to come up to Him. Instead, He came down to where we are.
Now, what this looks like for each person will differ, but one of the ways we, at Light Bearers, feel called to fulfill this mission is through growing our media reach. We want to connect as many people as possible to the gospel, and where are the people? Well, they’re online, so that’s where we want to be.
Last fall, we made the decision to relocate Light Bearers from Jasper, Oregon to Collegedale, Tennessee. One of the reasons we decided to move was so we could be more strategically positioned to produce more media resources. For years now, we have produced sermons on DVD, a TV series called Table Talk, a short video series called Digma, our ARISE Online discipleship course, and more. But we want to be more intentional and widen our reach. While our facilities in Jasper were a gift from God through generous supporters, we had outgrown them. We had no room to build our own studio, which meant we had to rent space, and we had to fly in any videographers and editors we needed. We had a desire to do more than what our resources allowed.
Recently, God has helped us take a big step toward fulfilling this desire: in June, we were able to close on a 17-acre property near Southern Adventist University, where we plan to build the new Light Bearers office and media center.
When we were looking at the land, we realized the market was pretty tough. As we began taking steps to purchase the property, someone else slipped in and placed an offer. Our team prayed about it and Ty decided to give the sellers a call. He didn’t know them, and he didn’t know if they knew him. But he thought maybe he could help persuade them using some of his Pacific Northwest charm, so he called them up:
“Hi, this is Ty Gibson, and you have a property for sale that I’d like to talk to you about.”
Ty heard the voice on the other end yelling to his wife, “Hey baby, come on over! Ty’s on the phone!…Now, Ty, why would you be calling me?”
We’re increasing our production of Bibles and Bible study guides…
Ty explained how Light Bearers wanted to purchase the land, but someone else had placed an offer and it was now under contract. The man enthusiastically explained how he and his wife wanted Light Bearers to have the property and that they would pray that the other deal would fall through. And it did.
Did God do that? We’re not sure, but we’re excited because, after it fell through, the generous couple sold us the land at a significant discount, and we are now currently taking the steps we need to start the building process.
At this media center, we plan to have a studio where we can record and film our own productions. We’re happy to finally film season six of Table Talk this coming October. But in the future, we’re excited to film in-house at our own studio. We also have plans to create a podcast, host events with a live audience, create more classes for ARISE Online and re-film others, create more content for our social platforms, and more.
We’re increasing our production of Bibles and Bible study guides and share ARISE Online with more churches as well. And, maybe most importantly, we need to grow our team in order to accomplish these creative goals.
There are a lot of ideas out there about what God is like—dark, frightening, and downright ugly pictures. We believe followers of Jesus have something better to share with people. But sharing truth is pointless if you’re not going to speak in places where people can hear you. We want to go and tell them. If you’d like to help vindicate the beauty of God’s character and go to where the people are, consider partnering with us as we show the world who God really is.
- James Hale, May 7, 2019, https://www.tubefilter.com/2019/05/07/number-hours-video-uploaded-to-youtube-per-minute/
- Statista Research Department, May 21, 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/
- Statista Research Department, June 29, 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/325587/instagram-global-age-group/
- Brandon Doyle, June 14, 2021, https://wallaroomedia.com/blog/social-media/tiktok-statistics/
- Hannah Ritchie, January 22, 2019, https://ourworldindata.org/how-many-internet-users-does-each-country-have
Allie is a 2012 ARISE graduate and on-staff writer and communications assistant for Light Bearers. She is fascinated by the intersection of faith and the creative process and enjoys poetry. When she’s not watching a good movie with her friends, she enjoys narrating life with mediocre accents.