Russell St. Bernard, pastor of Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in his series of four writing for Givelify, explores the idea of a digital discipleship opportunity and how places of worship can stand to benefit from digital presence and outreach.
During this season of ministry, there have been several opportunities from which the church can benefit. Recently, Barna Research released a study about “Five Changing Contexts for Digital Evangelism.” There are several critical points in this study that we might discuss in other articles to come, but I want to focus on one significant opportunity for now.
We all know the commandment from Jesus in the Gospel (Matthew 28:19) “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” I am not sure if there has been another season in life that has made this statement more possible than now. I say this because our “go” doesn’t have to be focused only on physical travel, but now we can go through the internet. Our Church (Kingdom Fellowship AME Church), under the guidance of our Senior Pastor (Rev. Matthew L. Watley), at the beginning of the pandemic, made the decision and investment to pour more into online ministry, as did other churches.
As a result,
We saw people make decisions for Jesus and join our Church from all over the nation. This is great, however, it is “us” the Church doing it. This article suggests that we have a major opportunity to empower our members and congregation to “go” and “make” disciples of their friends and family members.
I wonder what it would look like if we encouraged our congregations to write down the names and usernames of ten people connected online and pray that God will allow them to share the Gospel with these people?
I wonder what it would look like if we not just told them to do it but gave them tools to invite people to Church and invite them into a relationship with Jesus Christ?
Here are some thoughts:
We could help them pick a devotional to complete with their friends online, which might provide opportunities to share the Gospel.
We could provide tools and online meeting events (zoom cooking event or online movie night) where they could invite their friends to join them, and an opportunity to share the Gospel might arise.
There could also be a weekly or daily text message scripture that we send out, and they forward to a friend to provide a moment for reflection and, again, a possible opportunity to share the Gospel.
I am sure there are tons of other ways to engage our congregations, and I find it encouraging that almost half of our people could be looking for ways to engage those in their social circle. A final word here, however, we must have a plan or process in place so that once the Gospel is shared and a decision is made, our people and those they reach out to have a straightforward way to move forward in their faith step. This could be a simple form to complete or a person on staff listed as the one to contact if you reach out to your friends and say yes to Jesus.
What are your thoughts?
About the Author
Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Maryland, and the founder of After the Music Stops, a full-service youth ministry company as well as founder of Ministry Pivot, a company dedicated to assisting leaders and churches seize opportunities for growth.