Center for Online Evangelism
Can you guess what happened in the last 60 seconds online?
1 million people logged onto Facebook.
3.8 million searches were made on Google.
4.5 million videos were viewed on YouTube.
And 347,222 users were scrolling on Instagram.
That’s a lot of activity.
But I’m curious to know how many of those people read a blog or watched a video that told them more about Jesus?
With so much online activity, our church needs to employ digital evangelism methods.
What is Digital Evangelism?
Digital Evangelism is strategically using internet, mobile, and social media platforms to meet the needs of others and share the Gospel with the online world. Making use of digital means to further the Gospel work means that more church members can be missionaries, Adventist presence online will be stronger, and more people will know of the saving love of Jesus.
Why Online Evangelism?
There are approximately 7 billion people in the world.
4 billion use the internet.
And 3 billion are on social media.
Digital Evangelism helps us spread the Gospel into all the world at a rate we never could’ve imagined before. Moreover, it connects us to the younger generation.
Let’s explore how you can incorporate digital evangelism methods into your strategy:
If your church uses social media, remember to create content to engage your audience.
Don’t simply post content promoting events at your church.
Social media is not broadcast media. It’s about relationships and interaction.
Your ministry’s social media platform should seek to be a two-way relationship where you give your audience a chance to respond to you.
A few years ago, a Facebook user sent a message to an Adventist church requesting Bible studies. The message wasn’t seen until a year later.
The opportunity was missed because the church allowed its Facebook page to lie dormant.
Treat your social media audience as you would treat the audience in your pews; with attention and care.
Search Engine Optimization
The first thing someone does when they hear about Seventh-day Adventists for the first time is to search us on Google.
That’s exactly what one couple did after visiting a Seventh-day Adventist church one Sabbath morning. In their quest to find out more about our faith, they Googled us and the results were so negative that the couple never returned to church.
To ensure that these online seekers find accurate information about who we are, ministry leaders, members, and pastors must learn to practice proper SEO.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is an ongoing process to help internet users find your church or ministry website.
Using proper headline, using keyword research, creating relevant content, building your social networks, and analyzing your website are all apart of SEO best practices.
Learn all about how Search Engine Optimization can improve your ministry’s presence by downloading our free SEO guide.
Do you remember a time when we only had a few options to share valuable information?
Those options were newspapers, radio, and television.
Today, however, we have blogs, podcasts, downloadables, eBooks, video, graphics, online small groups, photos, articles, infographics, newsletters, vlogs, how-to guides, eMagazines, and the list goes on.
This means that your church or ministry doesn’t have to stick to the same old way of sharing the Gospel.
Start a YouTube channel about healthy, vegan cooking.
Record a podcast reviewing Christian biographies.
Produce videos sharing Bible stories in a creative way for kids.
Write blogs on how church members can be entrepreneurs and practice good stewardship.
Design an infographic explaining Bible prophecies.
Create graphics with the most epic Spirit of Prophecy quotes.
Publish an eBook for young Christian women on subjects they wrestle with.
Launch an eMagazine specially written for married couples.
There are so many forms of content that you can create for your church website!
Besides the About section, ministries tab, and leadership team bios, what else does your church website offer?
By employing content creation skills into your church’s online mission strategy, online users will see that your website is relevant and meets their needs.
Keep your church website up to date.
Events that happened months or years ago should not be on the front page.
Instead of stock photography, use quality photographs of your actual church members.
The look and feel of your church website are very important.
Replace outdated styles for a more modern and attractive display.
Online Small Groups
Online small groups are by far, one of my favorite digital evangelism methods.
Some time ago, I started reading a book written for Christian singles.
As I read, I was impressed to invite other singles to read the book together.
But how would I accomplish this when so many of my friends are scattered around the world?
An Online small group.
Every Friday evening, we logged onto a free, online video conferencing platform to pray, discuss the week’s chapter and share what God was teaching us.
We had group members from the Bahamas, Costa Rica, the United States, Canada, Barbados, Panama, and other countries.
Your church or ministry can adopt the same method.
Are there young adults who want to learn about managing their finances in a biblical way? Host an online small group.
Invite website visitors to join an online small group for parents.
Ask marriage counselors to serve as weekly host for your online group for married couples.
By creating these digital communities, you extend the reach of your church beyond the four walls.
Unfortunately, many unbelievers are uncomfortable walking into a church building.
But by inviting them to a digital community, you give them an opportunity to discover what the body of Christ is truly like.
As you continue to minister to their needs and build a genuine relationship, they may feel more inclined to be a part of the physical community.
What does the Bible say about Digital Evangelism?
2 Samuel 14:14 says that the Lord devises means so that His banished ones may return to Him.
The Bible is clear that anyone who has a personal encounter with Jesus is called to be His witness. When we have a great experience, we use all the devices that we have to share the experience with others.
That’s what Digital Evangelism is all about; using your cell phone, laptops, and other devices to be a witness to what the Gospel has done for you.
It’s about extending your church’s ministry beyond its physical walls.
By sharing your personal experience, others around the world will be blessed by the testimony that you have to share.
Imagine the hundreds and thousands of people within your sphere of influence.
The Holy Spirit can use you in a powerful way to influence those individuals.
Ellen White on Digital Evangelism
Ellen White wrote, “Let every worker in the Master’s vineyard, study, plan, devise methods, to reach the people where they are.”
She went on to say, “Christ did not follow merely one method; in various ways, He sought to gain the attention of the multitude.”
This means that if we are to follow the methods of Christ, we too should employ various methods to share the Gospel.