Tag: staff

Looking to Flipping the switch to Personal Communication in 2021!

The story started in 1980 for what is known as Presbyterian Media Mission (PMM), a cooperative media ministry, indebted to Pittsburgh Presbytery who rallied: the Presbyteries of Redstone, Kiskiminetas, Upper Ohio Valley, Beaver-Butler, Washington, Shenango, West Virginia, Eastminster, and then The Synod of the Trinity to share in this unique opportunity to reach out to people and serve churches through the media for the last four decades. Passages Radio Shows featuring people sharing their stories of faith from all walks of life was the centerpiece to a number of different creative storytelling projects as an outreach to people beyond the churches four walls.

At the heart of every communication is a person. In this year of so much adversity and need for diversity we find that every church is back to being about the basic function of sharing the Word
in people staying connected as God’s people.

So the switch this year was flipped to have education, ministry and mission all turn to help people stay connected through a cross-section of traditional and non-traditional communication reaching more people for some churches than ever before in recent history.

There are two ways of proclaiming the Gospel through traditional and non-traditional media:

  • There is a time when the Church, in the name of the Gospel, speaks to/with the world about the church. This kind of communication is sermons, worship services, bible discussions and prayer.
  • Then there is when the Church, in the name of the Gospel, speaks to/with the world about the world. This programming suggests that the audience may not understand religious words and forms. This kind of communication addresses problems and issues which bring pain and suffering to the world (hunger, racism, environmental issues, etc).

The community of faith has no substitute. It is our understanding that there is no form of communication that can provide the complete faith experience like being God’s gathered people. “Where two or three are gathered I’ll be in your midst,” is what Jesus Christ taught us in the tapestry of faith wrapping our individual faith walk with a corporate journey we do together.

PMM began joining the information highway of life in using digital communication in 1997 as Paul modeled using the Romans highway system to take the Gospel to more people.

The combination of personal with traditional media is the order of the day! Each church finds that churches are as unique as individuals and that to do what the next church down the street is doing doesn’t work anymore. A custom approach to communicating for each congregation as the “mass” that once was associated with media is no longer there. Media on a personal level through social media has flipped us to a custom approach in reaching people because the phone is as common as a pencil or pen in communicating.

So Presbyterian Media Mission (PMM) is flipping the switch to help individuals and churches to move to a personal approach to sharing our stories of faith for a new day!

Thank you for forty years of supporting media ministry.

Gregg Hartung
PMM – Director


Media Missionary Introduces Himself

Hi, my name is Rev. David Roberts and I will be bringing a new direction to PMM. In my senior year of High School, back in 1982, I first became involved with PMM. I met a wonderful visionary and pastor named Rev. Dennis Benson, and took a production class that thought how to produce media for the church. Hearing his vision for the church, sparked my imagination to see that the church was not something that occurred in a specific building or a specific denomination and was regulated to predefined ways of ministry. God and God’s church is much bigger than that!

I did not go straight into ministry. My initial studies were in music and technology. I caught the initial bug with programming the first home computers that were connected to the family TV and graduated to my first Apple II as soon as I could get one. I worked in technology and electronics for my first 40 years until I received a call to go go from that world back into ministry.

My grandfather, and father were both Presbyterian pastors and my great grandfather was a Congregationalist pastor. As a PK, I grew up as part of the ministry as all our families do. When I turned 40, After a planning session with my wife Jamie, I left my job and went to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and got my M.Div., as I also was a student pastor of a small church in West Virginia. Meanwhile, I reconnected with PMM and met Gregg Hartung, and helped and learned from him as part of my seminary experience.

After graduation, I got an inner ear infection that made me temporarily lose most of my hearing. Being in a silent world for a few weeks took me to the Internet where I could communicate by text. My only daughter Molly, got me on a new new service called MySpace. From their I got into the beginnings of Internet gaming. As people who I played games with found out I was a pastor, I was amazed by the depth of questions they asked and the deep needs they had for answers I seemed to feel were very basic.

Eventually the people that owned and ran the game board I was on. Asked If I would start an Internet church. I replied that I had no idea what an Internet church would be, but if they built their vision of an internet church, I would be happy to spend my off evenings there as a resource and pastor. I expected a few isolated chats from time to time. What I got was 3000 visits the first week. It was then I learned the internet was a place God was sending me too.

Now, with Covid, many other pastors and churches have stumbled on the internet as not only a way to speak to their congregations at home. But, they also soon discover the huge numbers of people that are tuning in from all over the world. We as a church need to figure this out. We need a place where we can study, share experiences, discuss and learn. That will be the direction that will be added to what PMM is about to become.

So, that is who I am as one of those delightful stories Dennis would expose us to on Passages. I truly love and appreciate the entirety of PMM’s ministry and hope to see those ministries to continue to function. But I also know that we have a bright and essential ministry before us. I hope you will continue your love and support as we start being something new!