Seasoned evangelist seizes new tech to share old gospel
Robert Youngblood
AFA assistant digital media editor

August 2019 – “We must learn to weep as Jesus wept over a lost humanity,” wrote Sammy Tippit (photo, right) in his book The Prayer Factor. Tippit works through Sammy Tippit Ministries by praying, evangelizing, and discipling Christians around the world.

He puts a new spin on the tradition of itinerant ministers such as the apostles in the book of Acts to Methodist circuit riders in U.S. history to today’s big-venue evangelists. For almost 50 years, Tippit, 72, has flown, walked, and kneeled in prayer in over 80 countries. Now he often travels by technology.

The “old” gospel is the same. The new medium is “Tippit tech.”

Take the land
In Joshua 2, Tippit noted, God sent out two spies to Jericho. Yet, Moses had sent twelve spies in Numbers 13.

“The method of God changed,” Tippit explained to AFA Journal, “but what God was doing did not change. The goal was to go into the land and take it.”

“That’s the premise of what we’ve been doing,” he added. “Bringing the gospel to the whole world has not changed, but how we do that from generation to generation? We have to be open to adapt. God’s desire is the Great Commission.”

With his heart firmly set on the lost souls of the world and on those who need to grow in their relationship with Christ, Tippit works with the weight of glory to tip the scales because in the back of his mind and buried in his heart is a prayer he returns to again and again.

“When you pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are tuned in and touching the heart of God,” Tippit shared. “We are praying that none may perish and all come to repentance.”

2015 – 2016
Prior to a 2015 STM board meeting, each member was asked to bring someone “younger” – in the 20 to late 30’s range. They wanted input to improve the ministry’s ability to share the gospel.

Each of the seven board members brought a young guest, who sat in on board discussions of the ministry aspects of STM. Then the young guests met and discussed what they had heard and prepared to share their suggestions.

Tippit said they basically advised, Hey, our generation would love what you are doing and would love to be part of it. But the only thing is, the presentation is unacceptable because it is in text format. Don’t change what you’re doing, just make it more visual.

STM heard and acted
While this was only four years ago, Tippit can look back now and say, “God is up to something in this day! Zechariah 4:6 says it is ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts’ (NASB).”

“We’re a small organization without many people and less resources than some others,” he said. However, STM’s willingness to adapt has led to the use of Internet technologies such as Facebook, Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, and others to share the gospel in amazing ways.

For instance, in 2015 “Jolly” Singh, a pastor from Punjab in northern India, asked for help to disciple new leaders. So Tippit discipled 40 young men and women in India via Skype for four nights a week for three weeks. Skype allows face-to-face conversations via smartphones or computers.

Singh soon suggested an evangelistic meeting utilizing his church’s projector, screen, and Internet connection. It worked – with Tippit in Texas and Singh in India! Tippit paced his words so Singh could interpret to the 300 people who attended. Over 100 people responded to the gospel.

Such meetings grew, and on December 1, 2016, 10,000 people were in attendance in an open field in Punjab. Half of them made professions of faith, according to the Baptist Press.

Desiring to disciple after evangelizing, STM made two Facebook pages with one in English and one in Punjabi. Daily discipleship videos filled in the gaps with a new daily video on subjects such as walking with God, developing a time alone with God, and prayer life.

2017 – 2020 Vision
In January 2017, there were 500,000 views of these videos, but by March Tippit suspected he was onto something really big. STM added Facebook pages with translations in other languages, and by August 2017, STM was getting 2.5 million views of the discipleship material. In January 2018, they broke 6.5 million views of their material.

In October 2018, Tippit was asked to do 30 short videos with accompanying text as a discipleship study called Praying for Your Family. These videos were distributed to each member of the small groups via the free service of WhatsApp. Now small groups can communicate face-to-face, both at their meetings and when away from the group.

Now, 2019?
“Close to one million daily were receiving these devotions during May 2019,” said Tippit.

However, Tippit, always learning and applying the feedback he gets, said the devotions for May 2020 will only be 90 seconds long instead of last May’s 3-minute videos. They will have less of him and more Scripture in order to train people to share their faith in Christ 
with others.

Multiplying churches
Based on STM experiences with the “Multiplying Church Movement” in Brazil, where the average church had 300% growth in 2018, Tippit’s vision for 2020 is to make next May an evangelistic month in Brazil, which they hope will spread worldwide.

“Basically, it is a form of personal relationship evangelism where people share one-on-one and in small groups with the idea of having seamless follow-up and discipleship, so new believers grow in Christ and join the body of Christ within a local church,” said Tippit.

The movement is based on five principles – prayer, evangelism/discipleship, training leaders, planting churches, and compassion in the community. While some might wonder whether this is man relying on man’s strength, Tippit noted, “Prayer is the foundation of any movement.”

He believes it is within reach to present the gospel to at least 2 million people in May via small groups, with potential to top 10 million worldwide by adding the mass media components. Already media outlets have been carrying STM’s ministry into Persian countries such as Iran.

The May 2020 emphasis will be translated into 11 other languages when Tippit works online with a translator in a gallery or side-by-side view using Zoom. “We can do 20 3-minute devotions for one language in two-and-a-half hours,” he said.

Tippit’s desire to fulfill the Great Commission remains balanced between being faithful to the gospel and flexible with the methods.

“By 2021, we don’t know what the technology will be. It started with Facebook, now it’s that plus WhatsApp. Yes, these technologies can be used for evil, but God can redeem these things for His purposes.

“Let’s use them for the glory of God and do what Jesus said to do: Win the nations to Jesus.”   

Learn more about Sammy Tippit Ministries and five decades of ministry through his books and high-tech resources, available at sammytippit.org or 210-492-7501.