How virtual tours are changing sermons

Andy with Bible in motion

Pastors and Bible teachers can use photographs and video clips from the land of the Bible to deliver the life-changing truths of the Bible. That’s the Sea of Galilee in the background of this message.

Not that long ago, an excited news anchor announced that a terrible event had just taken place in Europe. Even as he breathlessly uttered the “breaking-news” announcement, a video clip using Google Earth software was zooming down to the city where a reporter was waiting.

Why use Google Earth video clips on a national news program?

Because every network wants you to know that the stories it broadcasts are true. It’s part of a time-tested philosophy of delivering news. The “where” of the story is part of the evidence that the story actually happened.

Pastors and Bible teachers are discovering that the same philosophy works when teaching or preaching great Bible stories. Google Earth video clips can take any audience to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, or the valley where David defeated Goliath. Want to go to the “Gates of Hades” at Caesarea Philippi? Google Earth can take you there!

Combine this cutting edge technology with fresh photographs or video clips from the site of the biblical passage, and a pastor or Bible teacher suddenly has the full attention of his or her audience.

The ministry of Experience Israel Now was born from the idea of bringing the life-changing lessons from the land of the Bible to audiences everywhere. Did you know that only 1 percent of the people in an average church will ever get to travel to Israel? It’s true!

But this is more important than simply giving a Sunday congregation a short virtual tour of the Via Dolorosa. This is about the truth.

Only the Bible has locations that can be visited by Google Earth.

No other religious book, from any other time period, has this feature. There’s a reason there are no “Book of Mormon Holy Land tours.” There are no unique, historical sites to visit listed in the Koran, the Hindu Vedas, or the Teachings of Buddha. Unless those books are telling stories already told in the Bible — and about sites mentioned in the Bible — there is no Google Earth option for them.

But the Bible? There are hundreds of places mentioned in the Bible, and all of those places intersect with the others, making a countless combination of geographical check points. The Bible tells us of rivers, towns, villages, tunnels, caves, oceans, adjoining countries and specific streets. There are palaces, lakes and a skull-shaped hill made famous by the crucifixion of Jesus.

Biblical geography is the least-used tool of apologetics, but more and more pastors and Bible teachers are starting to realize the opportunity these confirmable locations offer.

With every discovery of archeology, with every virtual tour to the Jordan River, and with every peek inside the cliffs of Ein Gedi, biblical geography is proving that when the writers of the text wrote their stories, they wrote as if they were telling of actual events.

They wrote as if they were telling the truth.

And if you can trust the places of the Bible’s record to be literally true, that’s one step closer to trusting that the message of the Bible is also literally true.

If you’re a pastor, Bible teacher or small-group leader, the Complete EIN Library of video clips, photographs, Google Earth video clips and ready-to-use presentations is your fastest ticket to using virtual tours in your own ministry. Want to know more? Click here!