Internet Evangelism Day is set for 29 April, as the culmination of Digital Outreach Month. IE Day is both an annual focus day and year-round resource guide for digital outreach. It has always been our suggestion that churches (or other Christian groups) build a digital evangelism focus into their events or service sheets on or near that day. In previous years, although this could be an eye-opening challenge, actual involvement in digital evangelism or ministry was not something that many church members were likely to take up. The options were somewhat limited, time-consuming, and needed technical or writing gifts.
No longer! Social networking enables any online Christian to naturally share resources that explain some aspect of the good news, and start conversations with those they are already linked with. So at last, an IE Day presentation can suggest practical ideas and opportunities that most church members can use right now. There is a hugely significant three-fold intertwined cord of social networking, video shorts and mobile phones.
However, we must understand the nature of social networking to use it effectively. If we think of it as one-way publicity, we are will be ineffective and irritating. Social networking is people and two-way relationships. Think ‘cafe’, not ‘pulpit’.
14 digital ideas to share with your church on IE Day
- Announce or publish a short item about IE Day in newsletters/service sheets. There are free photos you can use.
- Download and project a short testimony demonstrating the effectiveness of the Web for outreach, eg. Kimberley’s Story | more videos.
- Download and project a video about social networking evangelism on Facebook, and consider also this dramatic overview of the current state of social networking.
- Demonstrate live on screen how to post video clips from eg. YesHEIs.com | Global Short Film Network | God: New Evidence directly into a Facebook page.
- Showcase live the new Talking About Jesus iPhone app (you can plug an audio jack into the phone for a clear audio feed) and discuss/demonstrate other ways that mobile phones can be used to share the good news.
- Start a discussion on whether your church could appoint a Digital Advocate to resource the fellowship, if you do not already have someone fulfilling this role.
- Recognize and honor any in your fellowship who are already involved in some area of digital ministry, including the church website, and ask them to share their stories. Pray for them publicly.
- Project a live online demonstration of using a Pinterest account and add content to it including appropriate evangelistic/conversation-starting material.
- Encourage small home-groups to discuss and investigate various digital evangelism opportunities.
- Suggest to the youth group the possibility of creating some evangelistic YouTube shorts.
- Tell your church about IE Day’s free ebooks and key book recommendations.
- If you only have time for a 5-10 minute spot using one or two of the above suggestions, consider regular brief spots on different days. Or even create an entire service, youth group or home meeting around digital evangelism, and integrate some music and a short drama.
- Encourage the leadership team to consider digital outreach initiatives that might be implemented this year, such as using social media to connect the fellowship with the community, and testing the outsider-friendliness of the church website.
- If you have never done this, consider explaining the crucial issue of how members can stay safe and accountable online, and also highlight protection software for children. And why not create a few ongoing classes on how to use some of these 14 options, or even some basic web training for online newcomers?
This article was reprinted with permission from the Internet Evangelism Day website