by Annalyse Hasty
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| ||It Is Written celebrates 60 years of soul-winning media evangelism in 2016, beginning in 1956 as the first religious television program to air in color
In 1948, General Conference (GC) President J. L. McElhany asked George Vandeman to try utilizing television as a means of reaching people with the gospel. Pastor Vandeman, GC Ministerial Association associate secretary at the time, was excited to experiment with the budding technology. However, he was not able to get the financial support he needed and the project stalled.
|George Vandeman circa 1956 at the early It Is Written studio located in New York City.
In the 1940s people were unsure how to use television for spiritual programming and not everyone was convinced the new technology had a future. It was unclear how many people would use TV and for how long the new media would last.
Today, It Is Written is streaming evangelistic series and weekly programing to 97 percent of the world on television and online. In retrospect, it is hard to imagine that It Is Written’s founder, George Vandeman, ever had trouble raising funds for this new evangelistic venture. But the future would demonstrate God’s timing was perfect.
In 1954, six years after his first attempt at launching television evangelism and after several years of preaching in Europe, Vandeman was asked by the new GC President, R. R. Figuhr, to continue exploring the Christian television program idea. Pastor Vandeman started to work on a series of programs called “It Is Written” which he planned to air in an area for several weeks as preparation for an evangelistic series.
Fast-forward two years to March 25, 1956. The vision that began eight years prior became reality: It Is Written’s first television broadcast was aired.
A lot has happened in the six decades since that first broadcast, but during that time It Is Written has remained steadfastly dedicated to using technology to share the gospel with the world.
“As we turn the corner into our sixtieth year, our plans are bigger than ever,” It Is Written Speaker/Director John Bradshaw said. “Just weeks ago I met a stranger on a gravel path on the opposite side of the world who recognized me and said, ‘It Is Written has changed my life.’ With the Lord’s blessing, lives are being impacted using the most effective technology available.”
| ||Over the past six decades technology has changed dramatically. However It Is Written has remained steadfastly dedicated to using the most updated media to reach the world with the gospel.
In 2015, It Is Written moved from California to Tennessee, began a humanitarian project in Mongolia, made the Revelation Today evangelistic series available live to anyone with an Internet connection or smartphone, and produced life-changing resources. It Is Written also started a Bible school, released a new mobile app, and created new, dynamic television programing.
“I wish that my father were alive today to see what It Is Written has become in 2016. I wish he could meet John Bradshaw and they could share stories of people who gave their hearts to Jesus, because they tuned into a TV station or went to an evangelistic meeting or found the program online,” Connie Vandeman Jeffery, daughter of George Vandeman, said. “Only in Heaven will my dad finally get to meet Pastor John and they will have eternity to compare stories and share the amazing things God has done through this ‘one of a kind’ ministry.”
The saying is that “sixty is the new forty” and the It Is Written team has never felt younger. New initiatives are being implemented, new ways of touching lives are making an impact, and new decisions are being made for Jesus.
“Exciting new projects like the It Is Written Bible School, our new Publications Department, and our new media projects are keeping It Is Written’s blood pumping. We’ve never been so excited about ministry or the opportunities God is bringing to us,” Speaker/Director John Bradshaw said.
It Is Written continues to make a major impact through the Spanish-speaking world. Escrito Está, It Is Written’s Spanish-language ministry, turns 22 this year,” Escrito Está Speaker/Director Robert Costa said. “Major series are held every year in North America, in Central and South America, and even in Europe. What Pastor Vandeman dreamed of has come to pass not only in English, but in Spanish.”
In addition to the new initiatives and projects, It Is Written purchased land in 2015 and plans to construct a new ministry headquarters soon.
“The new facility we are planning will enable upgraded productions of our media projects,” It Is Written General Manager Dr. Jesse Johnson said. “Studio recording combined with office, warehouse, and resource space all under one roof will allow It Is Written to grow into the It Is Written of tomorrow.”
In 1958 Pastor George Vandeman held the first official It Is Written evangelistic series in Fresno, California, and Washington, D.C., to follow up contacts established by the television program, just as he imagined.
In 2016, the ministry is doing the same thing with live events planned in English for Gweru, Zimbabwe, Boston, Massachusetts, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Spanish series will be held in Tenerife, Spain, Tijuana, Mexico, throughout Central America, and many other places.
“How many more years do we have to fulfill the gospel commission? It’s impossible to imagine we have another sixty years,” Speaker/Director John Bradshaw said. “I am hopeful we won’t celebrate too many more anniversaries. Jesus is soon to return and the sooner the better.”
Note: Watch for It Is Written 60th Anniversary announcements throughout the year including a special broadcast coming this fall.
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