Before ascending to heaven, Jesus gave what we call the Great Commission to His disciples: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:19, 20, KJV).
Based on this, I have presented two live Bible conferences (evangelistic campaigns) on social media during the lockdown period caused by COVID-19. I organized the first one for 26 days and the second for 14 days. With a team of four people, we live-preached sermons simultaneously on Facebook and YouTube. We left sermons on the two media platforms so that those who did not view the livestream could access the programs at their convenience and viewers who did could watch them again and again. People are also able to share the programs with others. Through these two social media campaigns, many people asked for baptism, even more for more Bible studies, and we were able to proclaim the gospel to more than 20,000 people around the world.
How does one organize a Bible live conference (BLC) on social media? First, what exactly is social media? Social media “provides a way for people to share ideas, content, thoughts, and relationships online. Social media differs from so-called ‘mainstream media’ in that anyone can create, comment on, and add to social media content. It can take the form of text, audio, video, images, and communities.”1 Online communities have no physical boundaries.
Social media has changed countless aspects of how we live, from how we get our news to how we interact with loved ones. It is inevitable, influential, and here to stay. According to the marketing company Emarsys, “3.2 billion users—which equates to about 42% of the population—log in, peruse, and converse with friends on social media. In fact, people spend more than an hour and a half on social media every day!”2
The most commonly used social media platforms in the world are Instagram,3 YouTube, Facebook, and Tik Tok. According to Adobe Spark, YouTube alone averages two billion users each month. “A whopping 73% of US adults report regularly using YouTube, with a heavy concentration in the age range of 15 to 34 years [old].”4 With nearly 2.5 billion monthly users, Facebook is the largest social media site in the world.
Some years ago, the Adventist Church organized satellite-based evangelistic series that were good but required a lot of financial resources. One person spoke, and all the churches participating invited others to watch with them.
Today, with social media platforms, it is easier to organize a public campaign where one person preaches, and churches with a Facebook and/or YouTube account, internet access, a laptop, smartphone, screen, or a projector, can participate. If each church formed small groups, with everyone getting ready and preparing the ground, a great harvest could result in just two weeks. Such a program would be far less expensive than a satellite-based series.
Social media amplifies your evangelism program with new and often surprising audiences. It allows us to reach those farther away than we thought possible.
What you need to know
- People are on social media.
- Your audience will extend far beyond where you are.
- Your sermons may remain on social media for others to listen to or watch after the livestream.
What you need to prepare
- A Bible conference team
- Advertising (digital posters, videos, banners, etc.)
- Your sermons on PowerPoint
- A team of digital missionaries
- A budget for the program
What you need to do
- Preach as if people are in front of you.
- Promote the Facebook page where the livestream will take place before, during, and after the sermon.
- Invite as many people as possible to listen to the program via church members and other means.
- Invite people to share the programs.
- Respond to questions and comments every day after the sermon.
- Continuously pray and leave the program in God’s hands.
- Connect people who are distant from you with Adventist pastors closer to where they are.
A new front line
Some people will never attend a traditional evangelism program. However, evangelism can meet them where they are. Evangelism on social media is imperative in this age of digitalization based on Christ’s method, which consists of mingling with people where they are, sympathizing with them, meeting their needs, and inviting them to follow Jesus.5
Social media amplifies your evangelism program with new and often surprising audiences. It allows us to reach those farther away than we thought possible. People near or far will have a chance to hear about Jesus through your ministry. The possibilities for thus expanding the range of your evangelistic activities through social media are worth exploring for that reason alone.
By any means necessary
The mission of any disciple of Christ is to spread the gospel message. No other moment in history has offered as many possibilities to touch the lives of people everywhere. Online evangelism may become one of the most common means by which future generations will come to know Christ.
The closing work of evangelism focuses on the proclamation of the gospel to all the world. God has given us the privilege of being partners with Him and partakers in the all-important work of evangelism. Therefore, as part of the Great Commission, we must meet people where they are today; one of the ways to do that is on social media. Each church should embark on spreading the gospel and love of Jesus using all possible means.
- David Meerman Scott, The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing, and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2011), 38.
- Lindsay Tjepkema, “Top 5 Social Media Predictions for 2019,” January 3, 2019, https://emarsys.com/learn/blog/top-5-social-media-predictions-2019; emphasis in the original.
- Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for teens and young adults, especially in the United States.
- Ryan Robinson, “The 7 Top Social Media Sites You Need to Care About in 2021,” Adobe Spark, accessed January 3, 2022, https://spark.adobe.com/make/learn/top-social-media-sites.
- Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), 143.