Digital discipleship: 3 ways to take the gospel online
In light of recent developments, the way we do church will have to evolve. And I don’t mean scaling back our ministries, because the gospel is more relevant than ever in these dark times.
On March 12, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that new measures would be rolled out to prepare for a spike in COVID-19 cases. The next day, additional precautionary measures were advised by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The news was preceded by the announcement that Catholic mass and mosque activities in Singapore would be suspended. Likewise, many Christians would have experienced disruptions in church services this weekend.
Instead of letting our circumstances impede our evangelism, here are some exciting workarounds. Spoiler alert: They all have to do with going digital.
1. KEEP CALM AND KEEP STREAMING
While PM Lee was making his televised address, I was with a bunch of cell groups giving out flyers for our church’s upcoming evangelistic event.
We were aware that the response to the event might be poor, since everyone is rightly avoiding large-scale events at this point in time. But we were thinking about ways to mitigate that.
Fortunately, my church has been streaming our services online and would do so for this event as well. We made sure to include a link to the livestream on the flyer, so even if people were hesitant to physically come down to our services, we could still redirect them to join us online!
Some churches may be new to online streaming, but there’s no need to fear.
As a response to the unique set of challenges brought about by COVID-19, some ministries have developed crash courses on how to livestream their services.
One example is Indigitous, an online community of kingdom-minded Christians, which has developed a series of tutorials designed to help a church get a livestream going.
Elsewhere, Streams of Life also offers a handy breakdown of recommended livestream setups, based on your group size.
2. CAN’T TRAVEL? TAKE A DIGITAL MISSION TRIP
Yes, you heard that right: digital mission trip.
You can evangelise and disciple someone else from another part of the world — from the comfort of your own home! All you need is an electronic device, internet connection and a small group of friends to do it together with.
While the concept may be novel, it’s not all that different from how we usually do evangelism. It still involves approaching someone (preferably from your social circle), and asking them faith-based questions through platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Telegram.
The digital mission trip even features a free four-hour training session to equip you with the necessary skills, to be practised over three days. While the programme wasn’t created specifically for COVID-19, it has become incredibly relevant now in the face of travel restrictions, bans and lockdowns.
3. TESTIFY CREATIVELY
Do you remember the “Draw My Life” challenge?
That was the first time I realised you could use videos to share your personal testimonies of God. The videos and drawings tended to be pretty basic, but some of the testimonies were really powerful.
Every now and then, I still come across amazing testimonies on YouTube. These videos aren’t complicated: Most of them just involve a person at home, talking in front of a camera.
The best one I watched recently involves a vocal coach reacting to singing performances (this kind of content is really popular on YouTube). One vocal coach was so moved by the song she was reviewing that she shared her personal testimony!
On Instagram, I’ve also come across accounts like @child.ink, who publishes short comics of what it is like to have God as our Father.
The bottom line is that there are so many creative ways we can showcase our faith – both offline and online. And even if we can’t draw or write, we can definitely share the beautiful and effective messages that have been created by others.
BONUS: Your friends here at Thir.st have also made some gorgeous wallpapers and written stories of hope that you can share with your friends as well. Don’t like to read? Check out our videos that will encourage and inspire!
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
It’s been more than two months since COVID-19 first came onto the scene. While there seemed to have been breathers, the coronavirus situation across the world just keeps changing.
But the Great Commission hasn’t changed. It’s a mission from Jesus we are privileged to carry out until the end of time (Matthew 24:14).
So wherever we are, whatever the situation may be, may our feet always be ready to carry the Gospel of Peace. 👟🕊
THINK + TALK
- Describe your social media presence.
- Do people see Christ in your presence online?
- Take a look at Indigitous’s list again. What are some possible forms of online outreach you could do?