Rich’s Guide to Internet Evangelism

With the events of the last few months, so many opportunities for evangelism don’t currently exist. So many outreach ministries that we haven’t been able to run. Indeed, at least in the early stages of lockdown, it was tricky to even have a face to face conversation with anybody.

But, of course, there have been great opportunities to use social media for pointing friends to Jesus. As a church, we’ve recognised social media as a gift from our sovereign God, and so have sought to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for this purpose. We will also continue to do so after restrictions are lifted.

Social media is a very easy, and potentially effective way, of sharing the gospel. Would you like to use it well to point others to Jesus? Read on (and do let me know what I might have missed)!

 

Have a biblical view of how God works in evangelism

I’ve been really impressed recently that Romans 10 comes straight after Romans 9.

I know, right? These kinds of insights are why the church appointed me as pastor for outreach.

But think about it. What’s Romans 9 about? It’s at least partly about the fact that God is utterly sovereign, entirely in charge of everything, including salvation.

And what is Romans 10 about? Well, verses 14 and 15, in particular, are about the fact that God uses human beings to bring his salvation to other human beings:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?

And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?

And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

And how can they preach unless they are sent?

As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

~ Romans 10:14-15

If we had been preaching in an empty church building with no congregation during lockdown, no matter how good the content, nobody would be saved through it, and nobody would be built up by it. And so, we’ve been streaming our services. We’ve been sending out the preacher to make sure the gospel is heard.

If we produced good quality videos with strong evangelistic content, then just left them on our laptop hard drives, nobody would hear the word of life, and come to Christ.

If we upoloaded the videos, but for some odd reason decided to make sure that only Christians would see them, those Christians might be encouraged. But the videos wouldn’t really be fulfilling their main purpose.

As Christians, we need to send those videos, and those services, and all that other gospel content, so that those who don’t know Jesus can hear of him, and believe on him.

And so, we…

 

Share. Like. Comment.

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When we think of Jesus’ call to his early followers to be ‘fishers of men’, we might have in our minds an image of a bloke at the edge of a lake with only his rod and flask of tea for company. But, of course, the fishing Jesus was speaking about was done with a net, not a rod. So, that kind of fishing, that kind of evangelism, seems to be actually more about reaching lots of people at once, more than (valid, and vital) one-to-one evangelism.

And that works really well with social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter. See, a simple share of a Sunday service, or a Together Again event, or a Summer of Sharing video, will mean that more people will be reached with the message. So, if you have a particular friend who you want to hear something, absolutely email, whatsapp, or message the link to them.

But also, why not simply share the link on your timeline to all your followers? I, and others, have been surprised at the acquaintances who have joined in on a service as a result. We never would have thought to invite them personally, and yet they’ve come along from a general invitation, and heard something of the gospel as a result!

Spread those nets wide! Give that post a share!

In fact, liking and commenting on posts also gets them seen more widely.

Would you want a nonchristian to see one of our posts? Then share! Like! Comment!

 

Be sociable on social media

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What do you do if you see a friend at church? Say hi!

What do you do if you see someone new at church? Hopefully, say hi!

We sometimes get people who aren’t part of the church not only watching a service, but saying hello. Help them feel welcome, just as you would at the church building. Say ‘hi’ in return. Give their comment a like. Gently make it clear to them that they’re welcome to be joining us as we worship God together.

Have you seen a friend of yours unexpectedly join a service? Why not drop them a gentle text a couple of days later, something like:

Nice to see you at church Sunday. I really liked what James said about grace. How did you find it?

 

Share gospel content from other sources

We aren’t the only place producing good, shareable content! Many, many other churches and groups are too! Maybe you’ll find a really helpful poem, or event, or something that you think will particularly strike a chord with someone you know. Let them know!

 

Pray

Unless the Lord builds the house, the labourers produce quality, shareable content in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen share gospel content in vain.

We need the Lord to be at work, by his Spirit. Let’s pray for love for Jesus and for others, and for boldness for ourselves, as we share gospel content. Let’s pray that people wouldn’t just tune in, but that God would take hold of them by his Spirit, press his word powerfully into their minds and hearts, and bring them to know Jesus. Let’s pray that God would glorify his name in salvation as we use social media as part of our evangelism as church and as individuals.

 

Don’t only share gospel content

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If the only things you share on your Facebook feed are photos of you playing lacrosse, I won’t stop being your friend. But I might unfollow you. I don’t have any interest in lacrosse, so I can do without three pieces of lacrosse-themed content from you every week.

But, if you are also sharing bits of news about your family (which I like), and cat gifs (which I love), then I’ll probably keep following you, and therefore I’ll probably see the lacrosse photos. And who knows? Perhaps one day I’ll start to ask questions about what you love about it so much, or even want to pick up one of those weird nets on a stick myself.

Likewise with the gospel. If all you ever put are links to your church services, your friends who aren’t interested in hearing about Jesus might decide to unfollow you. So, intersperse your gospel content with other content about things that genuinely interest, amuse, or concern you – jokes, memes, photos, news articles – whatever. Things that might connect with people in your life who don’t *yet* have an interest in Jesus.

 

Here’s links to all our social media channels:

facebook.com/careybaptistchurch

twitter.com/careybc

instagram.com/careybaptistchurch

youtube.com/careybaptistchurch

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