In the time of the early church, the only effective ways of sharing the good news of Jesus was to talk directly to people or write them a letter. The believers shared truth and personal testimony and then relied on those receiving to go and share it with others.
The same principles apply today and getting to know someone remains the best way to spread the gospel. However, with social media, we now have another way of reaching many people with the message of God’s kingdom.
Our direct outreach and evangelism can now be complemented by an online presence. We build relationships with our friends, families and communities and we can also communicate good news through the web. A witty line of text, a funny photo or an impacting video have the potential to spread digitally around the world and reach millions.
So how can digital media be used to aid evangelism?
People’s initial walks with Jesus can loosely be split into 3 parts:
1. Those searching for an answer, but not specifically for Jesus.
2. Those who have heard of Jesus and are starting to ask questions.
3. Those who have become believers and need discipling and encouragement.
For those not actively seeking Jesus, digital media can help to positively influence the perception of Christianity, and create an environment that fosters openness and curiosity.
For people who are starting to ask questions, media can provide answers in a safe way.
For believers, digital media can provide resources and encouragement, and social media can help people connect to the local church.
A GREATER RESPONSIBILITY
With all of the pros of digital media it’s important that we recognise that it also brings a great responsibility. As Christians we need to accurately reflect and represent Jesus and that is still the case even in what we’re posting online! We’re responsible for every Status Update, Tweet, Post and Like we make and the message that these send out.
So if someone looked at our online profiles and conversations today, what impression would they get? Would they see someone who is unwilling to compromise for their beliefs and whose life is full of purpose and points people to Jesus?
It’s poignant to think that the world should see Jesus in the way we act and communicate. We need to be people who are determined to represent him accurately whether face to face or through our online interactions.
For us to be able to do that we need to start by getting to know Him. We need to take time to read His Word and spend quality time with him. Ultimately it’s about allowing him to change us from within and mould our hearts to be more like him.
Sometimes this can be a painful journey – open heart surgery normally is – but we don’t have to do it alone. God has placed other Christians around us who are able to help us make the right decisions, remind us that we’re not alone and encourage us to push for the prize when we stumble.
At the Training Centre we have five schools, each with a different practical focus for life, but the heart behind them all is the same. We want to walk alongside people and encourage them to journey with God towards wholeness, maturity and a life of purpose!
AN EFFECTIVE TOOL IN THE RIGHT HANDS
Evangelism through digital media should never take the place of building real life relationships with the people around us. But it can still be a powerful tool to help reach people in a relevant way that grabs their attention and evokes a response.
At the Creative Arts Academy, we equip people in various art forms, such as music, dance and video. We enable them to express themselves and share their story in a way that connects with the digital savvy world of today.
Digital media has the potential to influence many and be a very effective tool for evangelism. But at the end of the day it is only a tool and will only ever be as effective as the person who uses it. No matter how well crafted the tool is, if it’s not used in the right way then it’s really no good at all!
So the next time we post something online, we need to ask ourselves if it points people towards Christ or away from Him.
We’ve been called to be Jesus’ witnesses. The more like Christ we are, the more people will see Him when they look at us, the more effective we can be in spreading the gospel – online or offline.