Church leaders sometimes stand in awe of video equipment as if it were the untried “new boy on the block.” Few realize that a basic video camera and recorder package is now available for $2,000. Meanwhile, industry and the secular world are using video to spread their messages as comfortably as they use the refined results of Gutenburg’s press. If the printed page and radio wave are valid Christian tools for a local congregation, so are television and other video media.

Video is actually 25 years old; what is new is the combination of equipment development and lowered prices that have put video within the average homeowner’s reach. One in 25 Christian homes today have a videocassette recorder/player. Sales of video recorders for 1981 are 100 percent higher than in 1980. By the end of this decade, 80 percent of U.S. homes are expected to be equipped for videotape and/or -disc playback. The church has two choices: (1) produce video software (playback material) with Christian content; or (2) let more secular, humanistic programming flood into homes.

Christian TV networks provide one source of Christ-centered programming that can be copied on home recorders and replayed at the viewer’s time choice. Three independent nationwide networks today transmit by satellite to cable systems in several cities. The Southern Baptist church has launched the first denominational TV network. Ultimately it will own about 100 low-wattage stations, and estimates say the network will beam SBC programs to over 150 million Americans.

This chain of 100 stations will have a low initial cost (about $50,000 each), low ongoing cost (most will be housed in existing church buildings), low staff costs (present church staff and volunteers will do most of the ...

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