We are seeing an increase of people online who are keen to know God. It has become evident to us that many of these people would simply not now be connected to God or church unless online contact had been made.
I recently had the opportunity to share at the [Engage Conference 2017], a national conference in NZ which helps equip people to live on mission. There was a growing excitement at the conference for the possibilities of connecting people to God and church online. Sadly, not everyone grasps the opportunity.
This story from a recent conversation we had is a clear example that we MUST be present online:
Matt* had walked past a local church regularly, he had often wanted to go inside but just didn’t have the courage. I offered to help by asking if someone from the church could make contact with him via Facebook to invite him and meet him at the door. My heart dropped when the response (from the local church) was “No we don’t do that. He’s welcome to come into the church, it’s open daily or we can connect by phone”.
I now had a problem on my hands! Matt had already told me he was a bit of a wallflower, he didn’t like the phone and that Facebook was to be his point of contact, so I asked God for a solution… “God, help!”
The next morning I suddenly realised I had a friend that went to that church. She immediately jumped at the opportunity, and 3 days later Matt was sitting in church beside her and her husband!
After attending church for the first time Matt said: “Church was very empowering! It made my whole day infinitely better. It was a very unique experience that I enjoyed :)”
He wants to fully embrace God and is hoping a few more visits to church will help him take that next step. “Thank you so much for putting this together for me, I feel like I’ve started walking a new journey in my life. — Matt”
Wow! I love stories like this.
A few things worth noting…
– Matt was fearful to step inside church alone.
– Matt was more than happy to chat online.
– Matt didn’t want a phone call, he wanted a Facebook message.
– Matt accepted a personal invitation to attend church.
– Matt is connecting with Christians and God in a local church because we chose to adjust how we reached people.
Matt was happy take a few steps out of his comfort zone, but he needed someone to meet him halfway.
I continue to pray that Christians and churches across the world would see and grasp the opportunities online and meet people where they are.
We live in an online world, and we need to learn to adapt to how things work online, or we will lose touch with those we are trying to reach.
Rather than judging the way the church responded, please pray for a new perspective for them and other churches (this hasn’t been our first experience of this.) Please pray with us that people will see possibilities and that God works in every sphere of society and life.
We need to be willing to adjust our plans to reach people.
This may seem a no brainer to you, but have you taken time recently to ask — “Is there something God is asking me to adjust?”