DISCIPLESHIP IN A DIGITAL WORLD
“ And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come ”
- Matthew 24:14
The world around us keeps going more toward digital means of doing things. Nearly every relationship we have has some aspect of digital interaction, whether it be in work, ministry, friends, family, or other people. With an ever-growing digital world, it has become pertinent for the church, and Christian individuals, to embrace and utilize digital means for doing ministry.
Before moving onto the topic of digital discipleship it is important to also briefly talk on Digital Evangelism.
The Great Commission can be divided into two broad assignments: that of proclaiming the gospel so the all men have the opportunity to hear and decide, and that of making disciples for all the nations of the world.
Mark 16:15 says “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”. Also Matthew 24:14 says “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations….”. The critical task here is the proclamation of the gospel in a manner and language that will make people all over the world understand the gospel and give them an opportunity to respond to the gospel.
Digital evangelism therefore is the act of proclaiming the gospel to every people through digital means. It is a more focused subtopic of digital discipleship. This is specifically to reach people who are not Christians already by proclaiming the gospel through digital means.
Digital discipleship is the church and Christians using digital resources, like blogs, articles, video, or social media, to further disciple Christians and non-Christians alike.
Discipleship in a Digital World is an inspired spiritual and Christian lifestyle. It is a process whereby the present-day believers engages in the act of disciple making and spiritual mentorship but through virtual means and digital tools.
Why Christians Should Use Digital Discipleship
In Matthew 28:19, Christ says “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Digital discipleship is important because as Christians, we are to be spiritually guiding people toward Christ. But first, that means we need to meet people where they are. Right now, millions of these people are online.
Social Media Usage Global Statistics
1- More than half of the world now uses social media (58.4%)
2- 4.62 billion people around the world now use social media, 424 million new users have come online within the last 12 months
3- The average daily time spent using social media is 2h 27m.
Facebook has 3 billion monthly active users, Twitter as 300 million daily active users, and Youtube has 2 billion monthly active users. This is where billions of people who need Christ are. Christians need to have an online presence to bring light to the dark parts of the web. Christians need to go where there is a need for more of Christ, and the internet is in dire need of Him. Theologically sound answers to questions are needed for people who are asking
Digital discipleship can bring clarity to many topics, and spread it to more people in a shorter time than ever before in human history. Media in almost any form, whether it be video, blogging, social media, photos, or audio, is easier to share around than ever before, and the Lord can work in anyone’s hearts to become closer to Him.
Categories of Digital Discipleship
There are 3 main categories of digital discipleship according to sdadata.org:
Content Creators are those who package the gospel message and teachings of Jesus into various digital friendly formats such as: video, blogs, images, podcasts, etc.
Content Distributors are organizations or individuals who use digital tools and technologies to share content within their sphere of digital influence.
Engagers are empathic individuals within an organization, or operating independently, who engage in online conversations for the purpose of building meaningful relationships, better understanding needs, and determining meaningful ways to serve others in the community.
Digital Discipleship Tools
Technology ministry can take many forms. Here’s a list of some for those who want to use digital tools for discipleship:
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
- Blogging and writing articles
- Creating videos, short or long, narrative or documentary
- Bible app to study the Bible with people
The church can and should use all of the above resources
How do I Start Discipleship Class in the Digital World?
Spend time in prayer
Like all other ministry endeavors, digital ministry should also be birthed and sustained in the place of prayers. Any ministry work that can be done in your own power is not worth doing.
Although starting an online small group might sound like something simple, do not start without spending significant time praying for strength and wisdom, as well as for those who will participate. The success of your ministry depends on God’s help received through prayer.
Define your target audience
Your target audience is the group of people you intend to receive your message or disciple.
One of the biggest mistakes online missionaries make is to say, “I’m trying to reach everybody.”
Although there is a lot of heart behind this goal, it won’t help you achieve success in ministry.
Pick a topic and plan your content
There are so many topics or ideas that you can use as a launching pad for your discipleship class.
With your target audience in mind, write down 10 issues or topics you believe they are interested in.
For instance, is your audience that of young adults who want to learn about managing their finances in a biblical way? Host an online finance small group and plan your content
Invite website visitors to join a discipleship class.
Write down your goals
What do you want people to do as a result of your discipleship class? How will you be able to tell whether your discipleship was a success? By answering these questions, you will be able to set your goals.
A goal is the purpose of an action. It’s the intent behind your discipleship. By writing down your goals, you get a clear picture of your objective. Your goals must be S.M.A.R.T: Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Timely
Set a date and time
Do not procrastinate.
Find your online platform
Different online platforms are designed with different goals and approaches. Find the one that best suits your target audiences and your goals. Perhaps the best platform you can use to launch your online discipleship class is Slack or Discord.
Promote your Digital Discipleship Class
Find out different online marketing tools and strategies and promote your Digital Discipleship ministry.