The Digital World, our New Reality
29 Jul 2021
Almost three decades ago, while I was still at university, the Dean used to say, “Tomorrow’s virtual world is more real than today’s real world”, and ”New wine requires new wineskin”.
While I was in Sydney, pioneering and planting churches among Nepalese communities, a group of Bhutanese refugees came to Albury and began attending a Baptist Church. The leaders of the Baptist Church invited me to share the gospel to these people groups in 2011. I could not be in both the places at the same time, so I preached to the Bhutanese groups via skype. I soon realised that the youth would not respond to my phone calls but would immediately answer my social media messages. They were far more open on social media chats than they were in person. A man named Ashis repented in our chat on Messenger and returned to Christ. At the same time, there was a request from someone in another state in Australia asking me to start a new Nepali fellowship. I prayed and asked the Lord for how I could best ‘reproduce’ myself as I wanted to saturate Nepalese people groups with the gospel. As a result, I began to explore technology and social media as an effective method to teach and train disciples in order to expand the Kingdom of God.
I decided to move to America, to develop social media outreach in partnership with Pioneers ‘Media to Movements’ ministry.
We launched our social media outreach in 2020. We were able to quickly reach millions with the gospel on their private digital devices. Most of the time, people will check their social media when they wake up, throughout the day, and before they go to sleep. We were able to reach their devices with the gospel message at their first stop – Facebook, Instagram, Google or YouTube. Hundreds of unreached Nepalese began communicating with our media team asking many questions about life. Our small team was overwhelmed with the opportunity to lead these seekers; many were interested in the gospel and eventually gave their lives to Jesus.
Here is one example of how Gagan Thapa came to Christ. Gagan had a son who was very sick. He took him everywhere for treatment, but he was not getting better. One day, Gagan scrolled Facebook and saw our campaign ads. He contacted our media team and they prayed for his son over the phone and his son got better. He wanted to meet a disciple maker and learn more. The disciple maker shared the gospel and showed a film about Jesus. Gagan repented of his sins and gave his life to Jesus. He was so overjoyed in his newfound faith that he shared the gospel with his mother, wife and brothers. He is leading them to the Lord. We have many stories like Gapan who have encountered Christ and have given their lives to Him.
Today we have countrywide campaigns in Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia and we will expand it among the Nepali diaspora in the Middle East, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America.
Paul travelled to different places on foot, via ship, and by any other available transportation. He used social gatherings, religious centers to share the gospel. He wrote letters and distributed them to the churches. Over the centuries technology advanced, there was a printing press and it was possible to print mass literature. People could travel in cars and planes to share the gospel. With the development of technology and industrialisation, the gospel has spread faster and wider. Today, people communicate via social media platforms and use technology to teach and train leaders. With the help of the internet and social media outreach, we are able to bring the gospel to every corner on the earth in seconds. God has blessed His people with better media and technology, and we should be the first ones to use it to expand His Kingdom for His glory. God provides tools, technologies, strategies, media and all the resources, so we should not miss this opportunity! You may not need to walk miles to share the gospel if God has provided you with a car that enables you to reach these places in minutes! The gospel flows and spreads better with the development of new technologies in each generation.
U, a Pioneers worker