Did you know the Russian government employs people specifically to write and comment on the Internet? Using fake identities, their purpose is to sow discontent and fear. Did you also know the Mormons encouraged their 85,000 missionaries last year to be on the Internet? Their new strategy probably stems from the successes of their women “Mommy bloggers” and of a number of YouTube musicians; these have gained thousands of followers who then might be open to learning more about the Mormons’ beliefs.
I’ve known for years that blogging (web journaling) can be a great ministry tool, but since learning these facts, I see writing and sharing evangelistic content online is much more powerful and strategic than I first realized. Governments, businesses, and institutions know that ideas spread rapidly through social media.
Seven years ago, I started my blog, eQuipping for eMinistry (e4e), to help Cru staff with tech skills. (My tips and training are actually available to anyone.) 9,000 visited this blog in just the first nine months of 2016. Readers came from 139 countries; nine of which are distinctly Muslim. (The figures come from e4e; I have two additional blogs which had a combined average of 1,200 visitors per month this year.)
When the Iron Curtain fell, Campus Crusade had already begun literature distribution into Eastern Europe and then later into other countries. The Bibles, books, and tracts, or “paper missionaries,” spread further than we could have gone ourselves. Writing articles on blogs and commenting on social media is similar. The difference? A gospel message travels in seconds from my computer into homes and hearts.
I’m not aware of other Christians doing blogging training for ministry, so I’m increasing my efforts to encourage and equip Cru staff with Internet ministry. Blogging, by the way, also includes “micro-blogging,” which are the short and meaningful discussions Christians are having through social media. They don’t need to learn how to manage a writing schedule and keep a website current. Instead, they show up on their favorite platform, such as Facebook, and start thought-provoking discussions about faith.
Just one of the many Cru staff I work with, Gina Butz (blogging at GinaButz.com), assisted me with some blogging training this week (see photo). I asked her about the significance of writing on the Internet. She replied, “I think writing is a great opportunity to reach into places you might never be able to go and to connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. There are so many ways you can use writing as a ministry – to encourage, to challenge, to teach, to invite, to speak truth, to reveal God.”
I appreciate your prayers to know how best to minister to the bloggers I’ve networked with. How do I help them individually, and as a group, through training and community, to have a greater impact on the Internet?
Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. I feel very privileged to do what I do. I thoroughly enjoy advancing the gospel through these great Cru staff members. You, too, are helping equip Cru’s bloggers to take God’s good news around the globe to needy people of many faiths, cultures, and languages.