MEMORY VERSE: “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.” – 2 Samuel 14:14 (KJV)
BIBLE PASSAGE: Hebrews 10:21-24
LESSON INTRODUCTION: As at January 2020, total world population stood at 7.75 billion, smart mobile phone users are about 5.19 billion, internet users 4.54 billion and active social media users 3.80 billion. Statistics also shows that every minute, about 1 million people log unto Facebook, 3.8 million searches are made on Google, 4.5 million videos are viewed on YouTube and 347 thousand users scroll on Instagram.
The Bible is clear that anyone who has a personal encounter with Jesus is called to be His witness (Mk.16:14-15, Acts 1:8). With the emergence of new digital technologies and internet/social media platforms, digital evangelism is an effective means of reaching the world with the Gospel.
- BIBLICAL VIEW OF DIGITAL EVANGELISM
- OPTIMISING THE DIGITAL WORLD FOR EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP
1. BIBLICAL VIEW OF DIGITAL EVANGELISM
Simply put, digital evangelism is about strategically and intentionally using the internet and social-media platforms through communication gadgets like smart-phones, pads/tablets, computers, video cameras and other digital devices to preach the gospel or share our Christian experience with others. It is about extending our divine calling/ministry beyond the physical walls of the Church (Acts 1:8; 2 Cor.5:17-18). We can infer from Mark 5:18-19 that Jesus wants us to spread the gospel of salvation to our friends using the trending means.
Obviously, Jesus Christ did not follow merely one method of spreading the gospel. In various ways, He sought to gain the attention of the multitude. For instance Jesus used the boat of Peter as ‘platform’ to teach the multitude (Lk.5:1-3) and on another occasion, He climbed the mountain to gain enough coverage (Matt.5:1-2). While Apostle Paul, travelled from city to city and wrote many letters using the printing press available during the era of Reformation.
This means that we should study, plan, and devise methods to reach the people where they are using the means and tools available in this era (1Cor.9:21-23). In this era, through a simple communication device we hold in our hands, we can reach and teach the world (Matt.28:19-20).
2. OPTIMISING THE DIGITAL WORLD FOR EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP
There are definitely positive aspects of social networking. It has surmounted great hurdles and barriers of the most hostile communities of the world, even those against the gospel. For Christians, social media sites can be productively harnessed for ‘kingdom expansion’.
Reconnecting with old friends and increasing our sphere of influence can lead to evangelistic opportunities unavailable elsewhere. Social media allows us to re-enter the daily lives of people we may have lost contact with and open up new avenues for sharing Christ. As such, we can influence the views of others by what we post, bringing encouragement and spiritual guidance to others and using friends’ lists, Facebook/WhatsApp status updates or tweets to pray regularly for friends and their needs (Heb.10:24-25).
Social media and modern technologies have eased entry into the world of telling stories, sharing ideas, and expressing thoughts through creative visual content to a wide audience. We can all be writers, content-creators and publishers now. This means that when it comes to creating content for evangelism and discipleship, the role is no longer restricted to pastors, theologians, and other trained professionals. Therefore, making use of digital means to further the gospel work means that more church members can be missionaries. The presence of the Church online will be stronger, and more people will know of the saving love of Jesus.
CONCLUSION: Digital evangelism should be incorporated with traditional forms of evangelism. It does not replace traditional methods such as one-on-one, mass, tracts evangelism, etc. (Matt.28:19-20).