People search online for answers. We must be the voice that answers back.
Only 20 percent of Americans regularly attend church,1 and only 2 in 10 millennials consider regular church attendance important.2 The church no longer has the option of embracing change or leaving it to the next generation. The time is now; otherwise, we will become irrelevant. Change is never easy, but anything is possible with the Lord (see Matt. 19:26).
People search online for answers to their problems. They turn to the Internet for companionship, understanding, information, anonymity, and more. We must be the voice that answers back, online, to share our message of hope and wholeness. Our digital presence may be the only exposure to the gospel many people receive. We must recognize that the mission field is online and just as legitimate as traditional evangelism.
We need an army of digital evangelists dedicated to carrying the gospel to the digital mission field.
Here are five steps you can take to become a digital evangelist (with resource links):
- Determine your target audience and platforms. The first step in reaching your audience is to develop a clear picture of who you are talking to. Seek to understand their felt needs and core values. Become a student of their culture. You must go where they spend their time and speak the language they speak.
- Develop a strategy. Define your purpose for being on social media and utilizing digital tools. Then frame your strategy accordingly, identifying key performance indicators for success.
- Research relevant content ideas. When it comes to digital evangelism, content is made to inform, educate, and inspire. The church should be the leader in creating content that improves the lives of others and supports their spiritual growth.
- Make time for engagement and community building. The church experience should extend beyond the confines of time and space in a building to an involved community that provides 24/7 support not only to members but also to our broader contacts.
- Engage in digital door-knocking. Digital door-knocking is when you share spiritual content on your social media profiles or through messaging and email to create an opportunity for people to engage with you about your faith. The life, character, and gift of Jesus Christ should be on display in your digital content and interactions. Jesus came not to uplift Himself, but to reveal an accurate picture of God’s character. It’s not about how many followers you have on your digital platforms, but how people can and do discover Jesus through you.
Jesus sought first to fulfill people’s needs; He then invited them to follow. We can use social media and digital tools to achieve our mission of spreading the gospel and helping people by creating content that focuses on mental, physical, and spiritual needs first. Once this foundation is established, we can invite our audience to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8, NIV). When used for digital discipleship and evangelism, this shift in focus is a way we can follow the example of Jesus’s example for everyday ministry to real people. We can use social influence for kingdom building while utilizing modern tools and technologies.
The North American Division’s Digital Discipleship and Evangelism guidebook, the new practical resource to using digital technologies for outreach, community service, growth, and evangelism is now available. It can be found at AdventSource, and print, Kindle, and ePub versions are also available.
1. Outreach Magazine, “7 Startling Facts: An Up Close Look at Church Attendance in America,” churchleaders.com, April 18, 2018, https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html.
2. Alex Murashko, “Study Analysis: 6 Reasons Why Only 2 in 10 Millennials Believe Church Attendance Is Important,” The Christian Post, March 27, 2014, https://www.christianpost.com/news/study-analysis-6-reasons-why-only-two-in-10-millennials-believe-church-attendance-is-important-116882/.