MORE THAN four-and-a-half million people have watched a young girl recite Psalm 23 on GodTube, one of the fastest-growing websites in the United States.
The Christian site, launched in August, describes itself as “utilizing web-based technology to connect Christians for the purpose of encouraging and advancing the Gospel worldwide”.
Based on the concept of secular sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace, GodTube users can put up their own videos and message each other. The website is not linked to any one Christian denomination. All people can use GodTube, say the site organisers, but there is a monitoring policy.
As well as the young girl’s recitation of Psalm 23, other popular postings include an Easter video called “Jesus painting”, and a video made for Forest Pointe Church in Belmont, North Carolina, based on excerpts from Most, a short film about life and death choices that was nominated for an Academy Award.
There are also videos of songs and sermons. Each posting has its own category: under “inspirational, catholic church, men”, browsers can view: “Best shot of the day at the 17th hole on the Stanford Golf Course. Mr Ron Basques hits a ball within 6 feet 2.5 inches from the hole.”
There are nearly 1000 different groups registered on the site; some with hundreds of members, others with just one. They range from Christian music- and film-making to theology and outreach, and cater for teens, women, pro-lifers, and many others. More than 50 people have signed up to the Truth Group, “for those who are on the fence and searching for what is truth, or at least as close as we can get”, while nearly 900 people have joined the Hot Christian Music group.
Christian churches in the UK regularly make use of YouTube and Facebook (News, 16 March and 10 August). The Church Army, whose chief executive Mark Russell was a former C of E parish youth worker, has already linked up with GodTube.
Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Russell said: “Church Army has a video of our latest campaign, ‘Bringing Hope Living Hope’, on GodTube, because it is a growing Christian community which enables people and organisations to share their experience of living for God. We support any initiative that uses technology to advance the gospel.”
An Oxford diocesan youth worker, Ian Macdonald, said on Tuesday that anything that encouraged Christians to communicate by visual means should be encouraged — but he hoped that Christians would continue to use YouTube.
The founder of GodTube, Chris Wyatt, told The Daily Telegraph last week that he set up the site because churches were having difficulty reaching young people “in a language they can understand”.
Mr Wyatt, who is 38, has postponed going into the ministry because of the success of the site, which makes money from advertising, selling subscriptions to ministries that wish to broadcast more frequently, and by selling demographic data about its users. It has also recently launched its own news service.