ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Christian Examiner) – Satellite delivery of the Bible spoken in at least 880 languages is on the horizon.
Faith Comes By Hearing announced late last week an Aerospace Advisory Council has been formed to direct the future of global digital Bible distribution.
"What we're looking to do is use microsatellite or other technologies that already exist, to reach the people who don't have internet capability," Director of Communications Bill Lohr told Christian Examiner. "We already have apps, podcasts and other ways of spreading the gospel. We want to reach the 5 billion who don't have internet technology."
Lt. Col. (ret.) Gregg Leisman, hired in January to lead the advisory council, is the former chief of operations for GPS satellite processing at Cape Canaveral, Florida, where he oversaw the launch of five GPS satellites.
Leisman stacked the volunteer advisory council with men he has worked with, including Brigadier General (ret.) David Warner, who served as director of communications for all Air Force space and cyber assets, and several others. Chairman Tom Adang, a retired colonel, is the senior technical adviser to the Department of Defense Operational Space Office.
Including Leisman, the group has a combined total of 193 years of military and aerospace industry experience.
"I am humbled and amazed at the depth and breadth of experience in the professionals who have joined the council," Leisman said. "They're all natural leaders in either space industry or telecommunications and they have a passions to ensure ministries can leverage today's technology to get God's Word to every person."
The council intends to explore the use of aerospace delivery systems and technologies similar to user-defined radio software, as well as virtual SIM applications and spread-spectrum radio technologies as a first step, according to a Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) press release.
"It's hard to imagine, but for the first time in human history, technology is making the fulfillment of the Great Commission actually possible," said Troy Carl, FCBH vice president overseeing the project. "We are incredibly hopeful because of the God-given talents of this council."
Faith Comes By Hearing started in 1972 as a tape lending library. By the end of the decade the ministry then known as Hosanna acquired actor Alexander Scoursby's reading of the King James Bible.
In the mid-1980s the ministry began recording the Bible in other languages. Today Faith Comes By Hearing has produced the Bible in 875 languages, which are spoken by about 81 percent – 5.7 billion people – of the world's population.
"We're averaging five or six [additional] languages a month," Lohr said. Some people who don't have access to the internet do have telephone connectivity they can use to hear the Bible read to them in their heart language.
"Satellite connectivity will expand the ministry's reach to even more people," Lohr continued in his telephone conversation with Christian Examiner. "The technology currently exists to be able to do it. The council will determine what is most impactful and cost-effective."
It's going to cost about $37 million for the satellite ministry be fully operational, in additional to the monthly increase in the number of languages available, said the director of communications for Faith Comes By Hearing, which is 98 percent donor-supported.
"That's $37 million to reach just about everyone on the planet," Lohr said. "It's really pennies on the dollar in terms of reaching people with God's word."
Through the Digital Bible Platform, Faith Comes By Hearing offers free access to the entire digital collection of Scripture via podcasts, internet radio, satellite televisions and the "Bible.is" family of apps. For more information see www.FaithComesByHearing.com.