SAN ANTONIO, Texas (BP) -- With Skype, Facebook, Zoom, websites and QR codes, Sammy Tippit reaches several million people worldwide each month to advance the Gospel.
In addition to evangelistic preaching, discipleship resources by Tippit are translated into Hindi, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Portuguese, Farsi, Italian, Mandarin, Arabic and Spanish, with three more languages on the horizon.
He and the board of directors of Sammy Tippit Ministries made a decision three years ago "to pursue technology and get the Gospel out through technology," said Tippit, the new president of the Southern Baptist Evangelists organization.
Tippit, in evangelistic ministry since 1970, started using technology in 2015 when "Jolly" Singh, a pastor in northern India's Punjab state, asked Tippit to use Skype to disciple several new leaders.
"For three weeks, four nights a week, I would disciple these 40 young men and women in India," Tippit said of the outreach through the free Skype app for smartphones or computers that allows for face-to-face conversations.
"They watched me on TV. Then Jolly said, 'I think we can have an evangelistic meeting through Skype,' and I said, 'Let's try it.'"
Tippit used his computer and an attached microphone. Singh used a projector and screen. Tippit has learned, over the 12 years he has partnered with Singh, to pace his words so Singh can translate them even when they're not together on a platform.
Three hundred people went to Singh's church and watched Tippit preach from his San Antonio office. One hundred people responded. Within a year, six similar events took place, with similar results.
Singh suggested a regional event, which grew to 2,500 in attendance, yielding 1,000 professions of faith in Jesus. And on Dec. 1, 2016, 10,000 people were in attendance in a Punjab open field, with 5,000 making professions of faith.
"Churches were following up with these people but we knew they needed help," Tippit said. "Most making commitments were young people, young adults. So we made a Facebook page -- two pages, one in English and one in Punjabi -- and started putting discipleship videos on them."
Via the free social networking site, Tippit's team uses lip-sync technology and a professional level of language on Facebook for translating 365 discipleship segments he has written and videoed from his office.
"We had 500,000 views of these videos in January 2017," the evangelist said. "Every day there was a new video on basic discipleship teachings: walking with God, developing a time alone with God, a prayer life."
By March 2017, Tippit realized he "was onto something really big." His team started adding Facebook pages in other languages and the numbers grew to 2.5 million views of discipleship material in August 2017 and 6.5 million views in January 2018.