‘Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things’ (Philippians 4:8).
With more than a decade of ministry behind them and several TV productions, brothers Paul and Mathew Backholer witnessed how technology was changing the means to reach people with the Christian message.
“The ByFaith DVD ministry was successful and continued to be,” said Paul Backholer. “At the same time, we noticed the younger generation was choosing to access video content with streaming services and there was a need to respond.”
Joining YouTube and other streaming services in 2006, ByFaith Media followed the evolving nature of video distribution. “This was before smartphone cameras when documentary makers needed expensive technology and know-how to produce valued content,” said Paul’s brother Mathew.
The original ByFaith Media uploads tended to be trailers for Christian documentaries or ByFaith TV productions. As the years progressed, video streaming services broadened and sought equality with traditional broadcasters. The brothers responded by uploading deeper valued video content, reaching beyond the trailers.
“People were still visiting their local VHS movie rental shop when we produced our first Christian TV series,” said Paul. “After much consideration and prayer, we decided not to release the series on VHS, even though this was a common format for that period.”
The first series of ByFaith TV aired via many Christian TV networks and could be purchased on DVD. “I can still remember our first meeting with the big Christian DVD duplicator,” said Mathew. “We were stepping into the unknown by faith again.”
The challenge the ministry had was producing DVDs for a worldwide audience, with PAL, NTSC and region-locking systems to keep the production stuck in one part of the world. “You have to fight for the ground the Lord has given to you,” said Paul, “and work very hard.”
The shocking pace of technological change within a few years produced a culture which was moving past DVDs into streaming services. To get ready for this new challenge, the ministry had to progress.
“First, we reviewed our Christian TV back catalogue,” said Mathew, “and produced long and short clips for outreach on YouTube. Then we began converting our productions to be suitable for streaming services.”
Various issues arose, such as the variation in rules for closed captions in the USA between streaming services or subtitles for Europe and the preferred streaming settings. It was months of ongoing work again to set the process in motion to upload content.
As the programmes were released, the brothers felt the blessing of God as streaming views soared. With 1.7 million minutes of streaming video a year, the ministry looks to the Lord to open new doors.
As ByFaith Media contemplates the guidance of the Lord into the future, it knows there are many more stories of faith in action which will be told. You can follow ByFaith Media on YouTube here.