Adapting the message for the iPad generation
Pastor Jared Oldenburg is really excited about the opportunities digital media is opening up for the church to speak to people far beyond its traditional reaches.
While TV shows and movies can trigger an initial interest, it's the personal experience of Jesus he's hoping people will get from a new eBook he's helped develop.
Who Is Jesus? is 16 months in the making and available exclusively for iPad at http://whoisjesusbook.com
Pastor Oldenburg, of Eternal Rock Church in Castle Rock, Connecticut, was part of a team of Bible scholars that worked on the eBook with Emmy-winning filmmakers Boettcher/Trinklein Inc and McDill Design.
With people growing up increasingly outside the church, the multimedia eBook offers answers to questions about Jesus, such as His place in history and how His life and what He did affects us personally.
"This is an interactive book that not only talks about history and who Jesus is but what that actually means for a person as an individual. I think that's the real benefit of it," said Pastor Oldenburg.
The answers are illuminated by Bible passages taken from the New International Version and a comprehensive glossary explains key people, places, concepts and artefacts.
Pastor Oldenburg is especially excited about reaching even more people through digital media.
"We write books, sermons and things like that but this is a great tool that can reach a much broader audience than we were hitting with a regular book," he says.
Timelines show when and how Jesus fits into history, and illustrations, maps and more than 30 minutes of HD film segments from the award-winning Road to Emmaus work together to highlight key moments in Jesus' life.
"The message of the Bible never changes but each generation has adapted to how we communicate the message in a way that's clear and makes sense," said Pastor Oldenburg.
"The popular TV series The Bible on the History Channel has proven that there is a great demand and interest in the Bible.
"However, that doesn't always translate into 'What does this mean to me as an individual?'
"That's why I'm excited to be able to piggyback on the success of such TV shows and go into greater depth on what the life of Jesus means to all of us as individuals."