God at Work During the Pandemic
by Jon Ralls
Amid a pandemic and uncertainty, God is still at work. His Spirit is moving all around the world.
As people have been home, at times alone and with questions, many are seeking answers to the challenges and emotions they are facing. One place they are turning to is the internet. The number of people online – searching Google, watching YouTube videos, commenting on Facebook, and more – continues to rise. The increase in social media users increases opportunities for social media ministry and discipleship. God is truly opening doors.
From One Comes Many
Azzibidiin answered an evangelistic ad he saw on social media. He was connected with a local disciple-maker named Bishara who enthusiastically shares the gospel with anyone who will listen. Through Bishara, 300-400 people have come to faith. Though persecuted, he keeps his hand to the plow and is currently discipling and equipping Azzibidiin for ministry.
You Are Not Alone
For college students in one Asian region, God opened a door to the gospel through video clips from the Jesus Film used in a social media ad campaign. One student said, “I thought I was the only person feeling so lonely during the pandemic, yet I hear of you Christians and your love for us.” This student was not alone in hearing the love of Christ. At least three people have accepted Christ after responding to these ads.
One ad campaign asked, “What kind of prayer would you ask God to answer?” Hundreds of students replied: “God, please forgive me.” “God, please help me with things that make me afraid.” “God, please bring me someone who understands and loves me.” “God, please show me what choices to make.”
The Unreached Reaching Out
Social media is allowing many in unreached areas to connect with those who can share the Good News. For example, a Facebook ministry page gained more than 1,800 followers from an unreached group in Southeast Asia. Local Christians have been connecting with those interested in the gospel, and at least one person has already been baptized.
Not A Coincidence
Through targeted ads and organic (non-paid) content, people are hearing about Jesus. In a country that is 99.9% Muslim, a team received this message: “Everywhere on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube I always came across things about Jesus . . . I don’t think this could be a coincidence. I wonder if … I can believe in Jesus. I wonder if I can see a miracle.”
Extraordinary Times and Tools
Since the beginning of the Church, people have been sharing the Good News. Today, we have the tools to reach distant locations 24 hours a day. Digital outreach does not replace living a missional life, but it allows for a radically different ministry paradigm. Seekers are reaching out to Christian workers who can converse with them (both online and offline), which can ultimately lead to a disciple who makes disciples.
Not A Magic Bullet
Digital outreach is not a magic bullet. We cannot just run a paid ad and expect thousands to be saved. Much strategy, training, and thought are needed to best leverage digital opportunities. But with those in place, this powerful tool can be used for God’s glory and the advance of his Kingdom.
Several ministries offer coaching and provide resources for Christian workers using social media.
A few are: Media to Movements – This team equips disciple-makers in media strategies to identify and engage seekers who accelerate movements of reproducing disciples. They provide coaching and mentorship from the first steps through ongoing outreach. mediatomovements.org
Kingdom Training – This group has been doing digital outreach for years and has several excellent courses to help people get started. kingdom.training
Mission Media U – MMU is a mentored, online training platform designed to help Christ-followers be more effective in making disciples and establishing churches by using media, story, and innovative technology. missionmediau.org/foundations-of-media-strategy
Kavanah Media – Helps mission teams and churches find seekers in their context. Specializing in training, media creation, management of campaigns, and coaching, they work with ministries to make the most of their advertising budget. They have a weekly podcast: “Christian Media Marketing.” kavanahmedia.com
This article was shortened and used with permission from the author, it was first published on 2414now.net