Digital Strategist for the North American Division.
Facebook LIVE results in baptisms.
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.' (Revelation 14:6-7)
This blog post is going to be very direct and to the point. One of the biggest concerns expressed to me regarding using social media, such as Facebook LIVE, to broadcast evangelist meetings is that “we can’t control who sees the message.” I’ve even heard, “Well, this message isn’t for everyone.”
I agree that some controversial topics, such as homosexuality and internal church conflicts, may not be appropriate for the wider public. But evangelistic series typically do not tackle these divisive topics and instead focus on prophecy and historical evidence, God’s grace and love for all humanity, the cross, salvation, and redemption. These topics are for anyone willing to engage, and we have precious little time remaining to share these messages.
If you’re doing an evangelistic series and are concerned about who sees it, then stop calling it evangelism. Evangelistic messages are for everyone. It’s not for you to decide who should and should not see it. It’s your job to spread the gospel and to reach as many people as possible. That responsibility includes embracing new technologies. You must ask yourself, at what point does my unwillingness to adapt constitute a sin of omission? “We’ve always done it this way!” is not justification to carry on in the same fashion. North America has become the mission field. We must use every resource available to more effectively reach people. We must combine our traditional means of outreach with digital strategies to magnify our impact.
The Great Commission given to us by Jesus Christ states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). An easy and free way to reach the nations lies in the palms of our hands. When we hesitate to make the gospel message more available, we allow our own human weaknesses and fears to get in the way of our mission. We live in an era of religious freedom with minimal persecution in North America (in contrast to what is happening in other parts of the world). How can we justify this resistance to boldly declare our faith online? When we act as gatekeepers to the truth, we stand as judge of our brothers and sisters. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
In our busy and chaotic lives, people cannot always make it to a location for each meeting—especially when evangelistic and prophecy series continue for weeks. But Facebook LIVE allows people to watch from anywhere with an internet connection, anytime it works for their schedule. Often the archived views of previously live videos far exceed the live views.
We know that four times as many people would rather watch a video about something than read about it (Animoto). Right now Facebook's algorithm favors live video, and social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined (Brightcove). Facebook LIVE is a great way to expand the reach of your message to those who may otherwise not be ready or able to come to a church.
We are to work in cooperation with the leading of the Holy Spirit. After we do our part to get the message out, we must trust the Holy Spirit to do its part in leading those ready to listen. In most cases, streamed videos are watched by a self-selected audience. Meaning, if they are not interested, they will likely scroll past it, hide it, or simply ignore it altogether. Content creators cannot be paralyzed by a fear of negative feedback. It is better to do something than limit our sphere of influence to what we can "safely" control.
In the last year, I have worked with several pastors who have chosen to live broadcast their evangelistic or prophecy series. Because of their boldness, individuals who could not consistently (or ever) attend the meetings have come to know Christ and are now baptized members of the church.
As good stewards, we must use every available resource so at the end of the age, when we face our Master, we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!...” (Matthew 25:23)
Join me in following the example of the apostles:
Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace… (Acts 14:3)
We’ve been far too concerned for far too long in controlling the message and the conversation. The message is yours, the conversation is theirs. That is the era we live in…and it couldn’t have come soon enough.
Please share this post and comment with your thoughts below. #DigitalEvangelism