God is the only One who has not been changed or affected by the Digital Age. Everything else—from education, to marriage, to how we treat diseases—has been altered or influenced by the Digital Age, also known as the Information Age. Undeniably, even the way we consume and share the Gospel has been heavily influenced by digital methods. The Bible app has been downloaded more than 100 million times, and every single second, mobile users download and share devotionals, sermons, religious music and books.
Methods of communication changed with each time period spanning history. Throughout the Bible, even God altered the way He communicated with His people. While He appeared to some face to face or in visions and dreams, He communicated to others through prophets, priests, angels, or scrolls. He even wrote His message on a wall and on tablets of stone.
Before He left earth, Jesus gave the command, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). The specifics on how the disciples were to “go” were not outlined. The Holy Spirit came and led each individual on how they were to fulfill their part of the Great Commission. To each person He gave a gift and then He used that gift – through the individual – to reach more people. God knew that He would need a variety of ways to reach those He was trying to save. As times change, even though the message – the Gospel – will not change, the ways we communicate the message will be modified to reach more people.
For some, this thought is frightening. Persons equate a change in method to a change in the message. Those who are more traditional are concerned that exchanging conventional methods for unconventional approaches mean a loss in identity. However, the progression of technology and information can add to the methods currently being used to share the Gospel. Traditional forms of evangelism are not to be archived in a dark dungeon underground. Rather, methods of digital evangelism are additions to be used to share the love of Christ.
The reason we cannot get rid of conventional evangelistic methods is because there are parts of the world where these methods work best. At the same time, we cannot ignore digital methods. With half of the world’s population online, adopting technological means to help in the spreading of the message of Salvation is not just a good idea; it’s necessary.
Here are 5 popular digital methods used to communicate the Gospel:
- Social networks
These platforms are beneficial to churches and ministries in many ways. The audience is large, global, and covers all demographics. There are 2 billion users on Facebook alone. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow you to connect with people, build relationships, and share stories of how the Gospel has changed lives.
- Media sharing networks
A media-sharing platform is perhaps one of the greatest tools for spreading the Gospel online. Video and audio content and sermons can be uploaded and shared, along with podcasts and photos. If you are a ministry leader, it helps to get your audience sharing content as well. If you are an online missionary, invite online contacts to share your material if they were blessed. Examples of media sharing networks are YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.
- Discussion forums
Users come to discussion sites like Reddit and Quora to discuss opinions, share information, ask questions, and search for answers. Posting to discussion forums is one way to increase Biblical answers online. A quick search of questions on these sites will reveal that people are asking questions related to the Bible and to the Adventist faith. Imagine what could happen if more persons were dedicated to giving loving, Bible-based answers to these questions.
- Bookmarking and content curation networks
Pinterest is probably not the first website that comes to mind when you think about evangelism. However, Pinterest and other bookmarking networks like Flipboard can give members and digital missionaries creative opportunities to build awareness of churches and ministries, engage others and drive traffic to Bible-based websites.
- Blogging and publishing networks
Content marketing is undoubtedly an effective way to connect with people and build awareness around the beauty of the Gospel. Publishing content that describes how the Gospel is changing lives is a sure way to grab and arrest attention. Many have heard that Jesus is the Answer; blogs give you an opportunity to show people how Jesus has been the answer. Your content allows online users to discover truth, comment, then share it with their circle of influence.
By using these methods, millions online can come to know that God is love and He has made a way to save us from sin and hopelessness. Conventional approaches still have their place and are still bringing souls into contact with Christ. Now, by employing emerging online means many more can have access to truth.