Digital Strategist for the North American Division
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).
My name is Jamie Schneider, and I am the new Digital Strategist for the North American Division’s new Social Media + Big Data department. With over 9 years of experience implementing digital strategies, I am blessed to have this opportunity to use my skills for God’s work. I truly believe that social media is a vital tool for accomplishing our mission in a 21st–century world.
For the first time in human history, every one of us has the potential to witness to the world via the power of social media. As disciples, each of us has an obligation to be social media ambassadors for Christ within our own sphere of influence.
Social media presents a bold new frontier for mission. Facebook alone, with over 1.7 billion monthly active users, has become the largest ‘country’ in the world. So why are we not sending missionaries? In other words, why aren’t we working to reach souls for the kingdom on platforms that are already designed for engagement and relationship building? Ellen White tells us to “Let every worker in the Master’s vineyard, study, plan, devise methods, to reach the people where they are. We must do something out of the common course of things” (Evangelism 122-128).
If we work together, we can easily spread the gospel to the ends of the earth in just a few short years. But this means going beyond the #selfie, and approaching social media as you would any other communications campaign: strategically. After all, social media is only valuable if it results in something tangible. Your goal with social media should be to ultimately understand and fulfill a need that will make an impact in the community.
For organizations/ministries, this will mean integrating social media into an overall communications strategy that includes actively listening and engaging with your target audience. For individuals, your life and work can be a powerful witness of what God is accomplishing through you. Don’t be afraid to use your personal social media to tell your story, and create opportunities to engage with others in a meaningful way. The appeal of social media is that it speaks to a basic human need, and that need is to connect. When we connect through telling our story, we begin planting the seeds that will enable those within our sphere of influence to connect with God.
Traditional media like print, radio, and grassroots efforts are still incredibly powerful tools for the church’s work. However, we now have more resources to reach our audiences where they are, in a way that greatly magnifies the impact of traditional evangelism. The average person is now exposed to over 3,000 marketing messages a day, and therein lies the challenge. To cut through the clutter, effective communication campaigns must work across all channels, platforms, and partners.
SDAdata.org serves as a resource for those in the church seeking to integrate digital communications into their larger communications strategies in a meaningful way. The good news is that these techniques can be utilized by organizations and ministries of all sizes by mostly free or low-cost means. Our department will be providing training tools, resources, and case studies to empower others to implement these valuable techniques.
Jesus, the Great Conductor, needs a symphony of social media ambassadors to help fulfill Matthew 24:14—a symphony of virtuosos who are equipped with the necessary skills and tools needed to accomplish a unified purpose. I hope you are as excited as I am to make use of digital technologies to finish the work and finally go home.
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