What if I told you we could reach 500,000 people a month that wanted to know how to study the Bible by making a series of 20-minute videos – would you vote for the church to do it? What if our pastors were invited to share the gospel with people in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Jamaica, the UK, Brazil, and other places around the world with all expenses paid and it would only take about two hours a week – would you approve that ministry? What if I told you there was a way that we could disciple people 168 hours a week (not just the 1 – 9 hours they are at the church) with only a few hours of work each week – would you support that decision? What if we could do all of those things while continuing every one of our existing ministries – would you be in favor?
The answer to all the above is OF COURSE!!! Maranatha loves the Bible. We want to see the lost saved. We are committed to building saints. We want everyone to know the love of Christ by connecting rightly with His word and walking daily in His Spirit. The good news is that every one of those things is possible.
The harvest is digital, but the workers are few
The internet creates another platform for every one of those things to happen and even more. Already we are seeing people watch our sermons in countries around the world. In the short time we have offered a podcast, we are already seeing it accessed internationally as well.
Our website also continues to grow and create a way for guests to connect with us. Just last month, over 8000 people found us on Google with many continuing on to visit our website, ask for directions, or contact us in some way. The majority of guests we have had this year have chosen to visit us because of their initial positive interaction with our website.
When you look at all we are doing, you might be tempted to think we have “arrived.” However, the truth is there is still so much more in the digital harvest that we are missing. There is so much more we could be doing with just a little more effort.
One example of a digital field that is being overlooked is YouTube. There are 500,000 unique searches on YouTube each month for “Bible Study: How To” and only a few churches even offering an answer. That means six million people a year are asking, “How do I study the Bible?” Our church has the answer to that question and many other life-changing, eternal questions. We just need to invest some time and effort in creating videos.
Another example of a digital field is live streaming of our services. We have experimented some with this opportunity with shocking results. In September, our Facebook live streams averaged 150 unique viewers and that is without any promotion. Livestreaming provides an opportunity to connect with people that cannot join us in person. If we take the time and effort to expand it, we can use it not only to share the gospel, but also to build relationships, take live prayer requests, and create further communication with people in our community and around the world.
Facebook also offers another digital field through the avenue of advertising. Now that may not sound very spiritual, but what it means is that for a minimal amount of money we can target people by age, gender, race, location, etc. with short high-quality videos or posts that could: introduce our church, share the gospel, connect to our community, and more.
Honestly, the opportunities for a digital harvest are almost unending. The world is changing and the question we have to answer is will Maranatha choose to follow a Blockbuster model of ministry that is limited by our walls or will we pursue a Netflix model of ministry that enables us to continue to grow and expand our ministry beyond our walls to a world that needs the Light of the Gospel?
The harvest is digital, but the workers are few;
therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers