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Evangelism Formation: Our Treasure, Our Technology, and Our Togetherness

Technology is making the gospel available to people around the world like never before.
Evangelism Formation: Our Treasure, Our Technology, and Our Togetherness
Image: Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

There has never been a better time to share the gospel. We have the best distribution channels in the world for the best message in the world, modeled by the best Savior in the world. “Evangelism” doesn’t need to be a cold, religious word loaded with obligation. Here are three ways we have an opportunity to engage in evangelism today.

First, reaching the world with a single click

It has never been easier to reach the world with the gospel. We live in an age of information distribution and technological advancement that rivals the impact of the printing press. Technology is making the gospel available to people around the world like never before.

Back in 2018, churches in the Twin Cities came together for a massive outreach at U.S. Bank Stadium. More than 8,800 people responded to the gospel, with 5,700 of those responding by text. That night, we held 2,000 live conversations with attendees—via text message.

Smartphone saturation is demanding new and creative avenues for the gospel. For the first time ever in 2019, the average American spent more time on their smartphones than their TVs (source).

We now spend an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes on our phones daily. That’s more than 24 hours in a week or 57 days out of a year spent looking at our phones. What are we doing to reach people where they’re at?

Today, we have an incredible opportunity to reach people through texting, apps, YouTube, and social media. My team recently released a discipleship app called Move Closer to help this generation take small but intentional steps toward God and one another.

Technology will never change the principles of evangelism, but it does give us new ways to share the message with more people. As the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” If Paul were around today, perhaps he would say, “To the digital natives, I became a digital native, so that by all means I might save some.”

Second, a song amid noise

But there’s a problem. We can share our message with the world with the click of a button, but so can anyone else.

The technological revolution amplified not only our voice, but also the voice of any individual, group, or business with a keyboard. The moment we put our message onto the worldwide web, we’re instantly competing for the attention of individuals who are peppered with messages and advertisements like never before.

At a time when businesses are collectively spending 100 billion dollars on online advertising (source), what chance does the gospel have?

The answer is: an incredible one.

Let’s not forget the treasure we hold. The gospel is the greatest message ever told to humanity. It’s a message for anyone who recognizes their brokenness and need for God. It’s good news—and the world is in desperate need of good news.

The gospel is a beautiful thing, and we should endeavor to show the gospel for the marvel that it is. Some of my friends run a company called Alabaster, which turns books of the Bible into beautiful coffee table books with full-page original photos and typography. Alabaster believes that the gospel is a beautiful thing—do we? If we do, let’s take the time, energy, and effort to show it through our evangelism efforts. We have a song to sing in the middle of a world of noise.

Third, coming together

Finally, let’s use technology to bring people together around the gospel and our lives. The millennial generation has been called “the lonely generation,” and 30 percent of those between 23 and 38 say they feel lonely “often” or “always” (source). For all the time we spend looking at our phones, people still have an aching need for human connection and community. What if we used technology to bring people together?

This starts with you. Each of us have friends we can text, DM on Instagram, or Snap. We can use technology to invite our friends and neighbors into community with us as a way to encourage and share the gospel. As Paul wrote, “We were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives” (1 Thess. 2:8).

You’re not alone in this, either. Efforts like GO 2020 are rallying the world toward month of evangelism and outreach in May of this year. In June, tens of thousands are gathering in Washington D.C. at Together 2020 around Jesus and the Word of God. And this June 23-24 the Amplify Wheaton Evangelism Leadership Conference will be held.

These efforts are meant to catalyze us, to show us that we’re not alone, and to highlight ways that we can run together toward the Great Commission in our digital age.

I want to encourage you to use technology as a catalyst for evangelism. Maybe that means starting a YouTube channel and sharing testimonies of lives changed by the gospel. Maybe it means building an app to encourage personal discipleship among a few people. Or maybe it means sending a text to your unbelieving friend and asking if they would be interested in coming over for dinner.

However you choose to engage, don’t neglect the gift technology offers us for creative and effective evangelism. As D.L. Moody was once quoted as saying, “I like my way of doing evangelism better than your way of not doing it.” Let’s start somewhere.

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