(A 3-part series)
You may be familiar with terms like online missionary or digital disciples. The terms were first explored and became popular with the Digital Discipleship ministry of the Greater Sydney Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, led by Rachel Lemon-Aitkens.
In these posts, I’ll use the terms interchangeably. A break down of who these individuals are and what they do give a lot of direction in terms of how God is asking you to share the Gospel.
According to Digital Discipleship, online missionaries or digital disciples (or digital missionaries) fall into three categories:
- Content Creators
- Content Distributors
- Content Engagers
In this three-part series, we’re exploring each of these categories starting with Content Creators. Soon, you should be able to determine which category you fit in. This will the help you in your personal online ministry.
AM I A CONTENT CREATOR?
Is your mind buzzing with ideas about the Gospel that you can’t wait to share with others online? Do you find yourself turning those ideas into blogs, social media posts, emails, videos, podcasts, or pictures? You, my friend, are a Content Creator!
WHO ARE CONTENT CREATORS?
As the name suggests, content creators ‘create content’. These individuals use their gifts and talents to produce work that can inspire, motivate, draw to truth, and point others to Christ. The mind of a content creator is always bustling with an idea. They learn something amazing about God, the Bible, or the world around them and they immediately begin to create something that expresses the light that went off in their mind.
Content Creators can fall into the “extrovert” or “introvert” category. They may work behind the scenes or right in front of the crowd. If you like to write blog posts (like I do), take photos, write music, make designs, produce videos, or record podcasts, then you’re a content creator. There’s one gentleman who does an audio recording of the Sabbath school lesson every week in French creole and shares it on WhatsApp every Friday evening. He’s creating audio content that gives people a better understanding of a Bible topic and many are blessed by what he does.
CONTENT CREATORS IN THE BIBLE
It’s pretty easy to see why we would classify David as a content creator. To this day, the songs and poems he wrote are being shared and continue to inspire us. Whether we’re feeling overjoyed, depressed, or fearful, we love to turn to the psalms to find one of his beautifully written songs. His content was inspired by God and express his personal life experiences. Through what he produced, we see how God sustains us no matter what we experience in life.
No doubt, Solomon took after his father. The poetic skills of King David passed down to his son, who then crafted hundreds of proverbs that still serve as guidelines to living godly lives. The content King Solomon created is useful in areas such as marriage, finance, raising children, sex, and finding happiness. If Solomon were alive today, his Facebook page or Instagram would have daily wise sayings. I imagine he’d have a huge following as well.
John the Apostle
When you think about the Apostle John, you might not immediately see him as a content creator until you begin to read the letters he wrote. These letters were written and distributed far and wide to different churches and groups of Christians. Even though he was exiled, John still allowed God to use him to produce work that would grow the church of Christ. Based on the way he describes his visions, it’s not hard to imagine that he would be a graphic designer if he had modern technology.
The main thing we learn from content creators in the Bible is that all that they produce serves the purpose of pointing people to Christ and lifting high His cross.
HOW CAN I START?
Perhaps you see yourself as a content creator – you enjoy writing, designing, drawing, producing videos, writing songs, taking photos, or recording podcasts. If God is calling you to share your work online, He will equip you with the strength and grace to carry the work forward.
So, how do you get started?
Identify your Platform
Based on your interest, identify the platform you want to work on. For example, if you like writing devotionals, perhaps you can start a blog or simply use Facebook Notes to publish and share your content. You can design your devotional in Microsoft Publisher, convert the slides to PDF, then make them available for download. If you are a video maker or enjoy talking into a camera, then Facebook Live or YouTube might be starting points. (By the way, all of these can be done even if you don’t have a budget).
Create a Content Strategy
How often do you want to publish content and what will it be about? A content strategy helps you build your momentum, keeps you organized, and allows you to search for fresh information. Excel is a simple option to start with, but there are various tools and software available online that could help you organize your content and publishing times.
Setting goals allows you to measure the success of your work. It’s good to know what you are aiming for. Without an aim or goal, you can quickly lose direction, and this is where most people give up and feel that they are not cut out for the work. Are you aiming to get engagement with your audience? Do you want people to sign up for Bible studies as a result of viewing your content? Whatever your goal, write it down and move in that direction.
Form a Circle of Support
Support comes in the form of family, friends, and other digital disciples. Somewhere along the way, you will need guidance, encouragement, and prayer. Perhaps you’re not getting as much traffic to your blog as you want, or maybe your video is not being shared at the rate you expect. At this point, it’s handy to have a list of resources you can turn to for a solution. The Center for Online Evangelism is one such resource and support. Signing up for newsletters and subscribing to our podcast helps you to stay in the know about what’s happening in the world of online evangelism.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
- As a content creator, don’t overlook SEO (search engine optimization). It might sound complicated or a little over your head, but it’s not. If you produce great content, you want to ensure that it’s “findable” online. This is where SEO comes in. We have a series of blog post that breaks it all down for you.
- Give as much thought to distribution as you do to creating. We’ll discuss content distribution in the following post, but just to touch on it, there’s a lot of great content out there that stays stuck in one place and never gets distributed. If you put a lot of effort into your blog, you want to ensure that it gets onto the screens of those who need it most.
- Don’t be intimidated by engagement. Once you begin sharing your content, expect people to engage. Some will engage positively, and others might not be very receptive. This is to be expected. There are many potential content creators who hesitate to publish a blog or creating a YouTube channel because they fear criticism. But “God has given not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).
God promises to fill us with power to be His witness (Acts 1:8). Whether it’s online or in a physical space, God’s Spirit can move and change hearts if we are willing to be used by Him.
Are you a Content Creator? Share how you plan to get involved in online evangelism on our Facebook page.
Read more about digital disciples here.