Social distancing will not keep you from loving your neighbor. In these trying times digital technology enables ministry from a distance. God’s word encourages us thus: Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Mark 12:31). This involves fulfilling the great commission namely “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matthew 28: 19 -20).” Here are some ways to undertake ministry online:
1. Making use of Apps
Apps are defined as computer programs designed for particular purposes. They are applications downloaded by users to their mobile devices. Apps for meetings, seminars, chatting, sending files, photos and videos abound in this digital age. Examples include Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Jesus Film App, GodTools, Telegram, Snapchat, TikTok and VOKE among others. These can be used maximally where relevant so that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
2. Social Media
Social media is a popular phenomenon nowadays. Social media involves forms of electronic communication take for example websites where users create and share content and take part in social networking. Emphatically, social media can be used to share information, ideas, personal messages, photos and videos. Social media platforms we can use to transmit the gospel include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and others.
3. Blogs, Vlogs and Podcasts
A blog is an online diary or journal located on a website and is yet another way to minister online. Blogs contain text, pictures, videos, animated GIFs and scans of hard copy documents one may want to share. Blogs can be created using websites such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and LiveJournal. As blogs are often for personal use, one can really share the gospel from their point of view.
Vlogs are video blogs or video logs where as the name suggests, the main mode of communication is videos. Vlogs are a type of web television. Vlog entries include embedded video with supporting text and images. Entries may be recorded in one take or multiply. Vlogs deliver messages through imagery giving deeper context whereas blogs use written information. This online form of communication makes use of web syndication to enable the distribution of video over the internet. Playback on mobile devices and computers is a feature one can enjoy. Videos as visual media are a powerful way to share the gospel.
Podcasts involve episodic series of spoken word digital audio files that users can download and listen to on their personal devices. The host of a podcast series will often be the same over a period of time. He or she talks about a particular topic or current event whether scripted or improvised. One can share about a personal passion, improve their professional visibility, grow their social network of influencers or begin a community of like minded individuals. Where the gospel is concerned, podcasts help with growing our passion for Christ given their episodic nature.
4. Having Church Online
Having church online involves live streaming of church services. Churches are urged to tap into technology and learn how to use live streaming platforms to engage their congregants. They can also make use of apps and social media for cell groups and bible study.
And so, while we might not be able to stand very close to each other, sit close to each other or visit each other, we can still love each other and share the gospel - young or old - using digital platforms on our mobile phones, computers and other gadgets. Take up the challenge!
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