A. Esansaari 1
A few years ago a friend offered me some CDs of sermons from his pastor. I wondered why Adventist pastors in Finland didn’t offer their sermons on CDs. It would be a great way to reach out beyond the church community as well as keep in touch with members who were ill or away. I asked around and realized that some Adventist churches in Finland had recorded a few sermons, but virtually no churches had digital audio materials that could be uploaded to the Internet. In many churches the pastor’s sermons weren’t even recorded.
I felt impressed that we must make these excellent sermons available to everyone via the Internet, so I began gathering recorded sermons to transfer to a digital format. I started with only 10 sermons, but as word spread about my quest, I soon had more than 100 sermons to transfer into MP3 files for the Internet.
Today we have more than 600 sermons in our Finnish audio bank on the Internet. In addition we have uploaded several of Ellen G. White’s books that are recorded in Finnish as well as some inspirational music. We’ve also set up a chat room where people can talk about sermons or books that they’ve listened to on the website. This is a tremendous way to get people involved in the message that they’ve heard.
I’m convinced that the Internet will play a key part in finishing the work of reaching people around the world for Christ. I learned that one man downloads the sermons and shares them with people he meets as his missionary outreach. And so far we know of two people who have come to know Christ and the Seventh-day Adventist Church because of this outreach.
One unexpected blessing from our audio bank of sermons came to light recently. While most of the sermons on our Internet site are listened to by individuals, some sermons have been used during worship services in congregations that have no full-time pastor of their own. The worshippers can listen to a first-class sermon via the Internet even when there is no live person to present it.
I realize that what we’re doing in Finland to spread the good news of Jesus to others isn’t new. But I hope other language groups around the world will do the same. It’s an easy form of evangelism, and it’s effective wherever people have access to a computer. This ministry can be a blessing for countless numbers of people.
God wants us to use every means available to lead people to Christ, whether it’s through personal evangelism, the mission offering, or the Internet. The end result will be souls saved for God’s kingdom.
A. Esansaari lives in Oulu, Finland.