Yesterday I heard 75-year old John Bisagno speak to a group of pastors at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Pastors’ Conference. Dr. Bisagno retired after 30 years of ministry at First Baptist Church Houston leading that congregation to reach thousands of people in Houston and around the globe. While most men his age would be tempted to reminisce about the good ol’ days and how the new generation has drifted away from God, Bisagno had no time for that. He was more interested in speaking about how to use social media to reach the lost.
What has impressed me the most about Dr. Bisagno is a quality that I have valued since my early teens when an 83 year old school cook asked me to help her cook a dish she didn’t have a recipe for. I felt uneasy about telling granny what to do in the kitchen, but she was gracious and genuinely wanted to learn. That day, I learned more about life than she did about cooking: I will never stop learning and I will learn from anyone who can help me.
Dr. Bisagno is cut from the same cloth. He doesn’t care about the tools of ministry. When knocking on doors worked well, he knocked on doors. When radio and tv were viable tools for ministry, he used them. Now he realizes that social media is a powerful tool to reach out to a great number of people whom we might never meet face to face but who are willing to engage in a faith conversation.
“If you’re not using Twitter and Facebook to engage culture you’re not going to be as successful in ministry today,” he said to an audience much younger than himself. Never he discounted the power of God to transform lives. He’s message was simple. Use the tools you have. Connect with people whenever they are. Speak the language of the culture with the message of the gospel. The medium is ever changing, but the message is timeless.
My favorite quote of the morning was: “What are you going to do if you get to heaven and find out God likes rap music?”
Who in your life have inspired you to continue to learn and grow?