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Don’t idolize media

With churches entering into the media era, how are we to follow God? In 2001, I came back to Hong Kong from North America, responding to God’s call to behold His work. Today, the whole world is in difficulty, but God tells us not to look at the darkness and instead see His hand. Therefore, we must follow God regardless of the circumstances and focus on Him.

Weimin and his wife Jolyn from Singapore joined our media department last year. They are media experts highly sought-after by international organizations, yet they have decided to join 611 as led by God. Two and a half years ago in Singapore, Pastor Anton Cruz told him not to chase after the glamourous “golden apple” but instead seek the “fresh apple” that has life. Afterwards, they came under us, a Tree of Life. In terms of media hardware, Weimin reckons our equipment has reached the top-level in Asia. Our production is of much higher level than that of most churches. Moreover, the media co-workers and volunteers are keen to learn and to keep improving. The subscriber count on our YouTube channels has increased from 600 to over 11,200. I thank God that our media team is maturing. For a long time, I have believed that it is necessary for churches to develop in media, in order to produce many multimedia programs and to facilitate brothers and sisters to spread the gospel via media. Sadly,
we were unable to ac tualize this until Weimin and Jolyn joined us. From that point, our church media ministry was born.

There were a number of accidents relating to media and equipment last week, and we were compelled to reflect. The second of the Ten Commandments was preached this last weekend. This sermon has been highly-anticipated, yet we were met with suspension of on-site services, and so I ended up preaching to empty chairs online. During my sermon, I found the light and the air-conditioning deeply uncomfortable. Worse still, some cameras broke down and the media staff was taken by surprise by this situation. Regardless, I chose not to look at the circumstances, instead it was God I looked to.

On the Tuesday after that, the whole media team gathered together and confessed sins. Beyond doubt, they are more than prepared, at least equipment-wise. However, they are yet to be prepared spiritually. Have they put their media expertise before God?

The second commandment stresses that “You shall not make for yourself a carved image” because God is a jealous God. He is reminding us: The church is entering the “Media” Era. For sure, we need professional media (especially during this pandemic which prohibits physical gatherings) – but nonetheless, we shall never idolize media!

The excellence and quality that is pursued in media are in no way above God. We do not rely on media more than God. Rather, we trust God and Him alone. Unquestionably, our media staff are expected to serve at a professional level – but they should be more concerned regarding the hand of God. They must follow God and not just their expertise. Brothers and sisters, do not idolize expertise. In your life, whether in marketplace or church, intentionally or unintentionally, is there anyone or anything which has become your idol, and is holding you back from following God?•[2020.12.13]

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