What’s an Online Mission Station?
Online mission stations are needed to reach the billions of active seekers in the online mission field. To illustrate how this works, let’s compare two mission stations—one traditional, and one online.
In a foreign country, whether first-world or third-world, an effective mission station has several ways to attract the attention of the local population, meet its needs, and guide individuals to Christ. Though local needs vary, they may include:
- A free medical clinic
- A branch Sabbath school
- A training program for improving crop yields
- A training program on stewardship and wealth management
…the specifics depend on the needs of the community.
In the same way, an effective online mission station reaches out to its local community that is built around specific, existing needs. This mission station operates as a missional website that publishes specific content that matches the needs of these communities.
Any church, school or ministry that has a website can turn it into a fully functioning online mission station, using the resources and strengths that have already been developed for their operations and ministry efforts. This way our own churches and schools that are already doing great work can expand their reach exponentially, just by opening up their efforts to the online mission field.
Here are some examples of existing resources and ministry efforts that can turn websites into online mission stations:
- a Vacation Bible School
- a health/wellness training program
- a Depression Recovery presentation
- a cooking school
…again, the specifics depend on the needs of the community, and the existing resources of the local church.
Both types of mission stations share the same goal: to attract people to Christ. And both share the same principles and strategies—only the methods of reaching people differ.
In the traditional, off-line mission field, all of these activities take place face-to-face. They meet the people where they are, in their village or local community.
The online mission station also meets people where they are—online. Consider this:
BOX: “In the next 24 hours humans will text 188 billion times, send 144 billion emails, google 4.7 billion times, download 30 million apps, Skype for 2 billion minutes, write 2.1 million blog posts and tweet 400 million times.” –Hyperlinked Life, Barna Group
Anyone who wonders “where the young people are” need look no further than this. The Millennial generation (those born between 1990 and the early 2000s) is the first truly “digital native” generation, and studies are showing that their brains have developed differently from the brains of earlier generations. Attention span and short term memory have been exchanged for a greater multitasking capacity, and Millennials place a much greater emphasis on entertainment and online relationships.
But many of them are still searching for Christ.
Online mission stations may be one of the best ways to reach a group that has nearly disappeared from our church pews across the nation.
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