Digital Evangelism, part 1
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear in the way that I ought to proclaim it. 5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:2-6
As Christians, we should always be looking for open doors to share the good news of Jesus Christ. There has been a massive shift in digital engagement in our culture in the past few years. Of course, there are many negative aspects associated with modern technology, but there are also tremendous opportunities before us. While technology will never be able to replace face-to-face interactions, we need to consider the doors of opportunity that can be opened through digital evangelism.
Now, the caveat has to be expressed that there is no command to engage in digital evangelism. There is no sin of omission by refusing to open up a Facebook account, share sermons from YouTube, etc. Rather, this is an opportunity to “become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some,” as Paul says in I Corinthians 9:22.
The gospel can be easier to receive online for some people. One of the unfortunate side effects of the pandemic is many people are hesitant to engage with others in person. Whether we like it or not as a matter of personal preference, some people are more willing to discuss things online, (especially controversial topics). We can resist people’s preferences, or we can do as Colossians 4:5 says, and “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.” Digital evangelism gives people more time to think and respond, and can be less confrontational than in-person communication.
The gospel can also be easier to share online for some Christians. Again, digital evangelism is not a substitute for personal evangelism, but it can be a tool to help you get there. Many Christians are uncomfortable discussing their faith in person. If that is you, engaging in those conversations in some online format may help you build the courage you need to start having face-to-face conversations down the road.
The gospel can reach a wider audience online. Acts 17:17 tells us that Paul went to “the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.” Why? The marketplace at that time was not just a place to buy things, it was also a place where public debates were held and where people would gather to hear controversial subjects. Today, that type of thing happens online! The internet is where people gather today, very similar to the marketplace in Paul’s day. The internet is where people turn when they have questions, and that includes questions about God and faith. The point is, people are online. Billions of people, in fact.
Digital Evangelism is not a replacement for face-to-face, personal evangelism. The internet simply provides another set of open doors for us to share the message of salvation. The next article, Lord willing, will address how you can engage in digital evangelism. However, if your eagerness gets the better of you before then and you can’t wait to get started, feel free to reach out to me, (Dustin), and I will be happy to help you. John 4:35 says, “lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” Consider the souls you may be able to share God’s word with through digital evangelism.