DULUTH, Ga.(BP) – In the television world where adult themes often find their way even into sitcoms and gameshows, believers now have an alternative that offers authentically Christian and theologically sound programming.
The Georgia Baptist Mission Board has launched ACTS2 to offer entertaining, inspirational, and educational programming that aims to support the worldview of Georgia Baptists and Southern Baptists at large.
The brainchild of Jon Graham, video producer for the Mission Board, the ACTS2 streaming service was unveiled last week at the annual meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Jonesboro.
ACTS2 positions Georgia Baptists to lead the way in putting family-friendly programming back in the hands of Christians around the world.
“I wanted to find programs that inspired and entertained a vast audience but with solid theology, something that is often missing in Christian programming,” Graham said.
Hundreds of viewers signed up for ACTS2 within days of its debut.
“I thought this would work because there is an obvious void of a Southern Baptist voice in the broadcast world,” Graham said. “And now more than ever, conventional broadcast methods are being set aside for streaming offerings. I also had the support and experience of my team leader, John Courtney, who heads the Research & Development team and came to the Mission Board after many years in the Christian broadcasting arena.”
More than 230 titles have been added to the streaming service so far, including documentary series like “Far Flung Tin Can,” parenting programs like “Parent Compass,” children’s programming like “Kid’s Beach Club” and “Awesome Science,” women’s programs like “Bloom Today.”
Films like “The Shawn Miracle” and “In His Image” are available on ACTS2, as are all the music and sermons from the Georgia Baptist Convention’s annual meeting.
Graham said he is always looking for well-produced content to add, including church Christmas musicals and special presentations. He said talks are underway with the producers of the popular YouTube series “The Chosen” in hopes of offering past episodes.
ACTS2 is available at the iOS APP store, Google Play (Android) store, Amazon’s fireTV, Roku and on the web.
Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr. introduced the streaming service on Nov. 8 at the annual meeting, encouraging the nearly 1,000 messengers in attendance to download and sign in.
“We’ve had over 450 subscribers in our first week,” Graham said. “I’m very pleased with that. I would love to see 10,000 subscribers by the end of our first year. Subscribing is free and easy.”
To be successful, ACTS2 needs Georgia Baptists to get excited about it.
“We need pastors to download it, talk about it, promote it, watch it, review us on whatever app store they went to when they downloaded the app,” Graham said. “There’s already something there for everyone and we’re adding new content all the time.
“With COVID-19, many churches have had to become their own producers of great content. We’d love to look at what they may have and possibly add it to our programming.”
Dunwoody Baptist has already provided their production of Handel’s Messiah, which will be part of the ACTS2 Christmas lineup.
Terry Ryan, pastor of Penia Baptist Church in Cordele, Ga., has already begun promoting ACTS2 in his church.
“I am sure that many, like myself, have longed for a quality outlet to find entertainment, education, and community, a place where family is respected and sound theology is followed,” Ryan said. “Thank you for making ACTS2 available to us.”
While the streaming service is free, pay-per-view programs and subscription-based programs could be added in the future.
“Doing this allows us to open up a huge world of programming,” Graham said. “Making films costs money and filmmakers need to recoup that money. If we can make it financially attractive for content providers, we can stand shoulder to shoulder with any other outlet and have a really great, trustworthy channel that will make Georgia Baptists and Southern Baptists proud.”
Despite the large number of streaming services available nowadays, Graham said he believes there’s room for ACTS2.
“Honestly, there’s more potential now than ever to make something like this work,” he said. “Everyone is an influencer at some level – simply sharing your excitement on social media will make ACTS2 go viral. Find a show you never know existed, get excited about it and tell folks where to watch it! Compared to the $8.5 million the SBC invested back in 1980 to launch the ACTS network, ACTS2 costs us pennies on the dollar, and we have access to 50 Million FireTV users, 55 Million Roku users, 40 Million Apple TV users, 1 billion iPhone users and 2.5 billion android users. It’s pretty exciting.”