By Jeff Slaughter
While most of our FEIC member churches are on extended lockdowns and doing church online during the COVID-19 pandemic, Denise Godwin of International Media Ministries offers some valuable advice to help minister to those engaging on social media.
“Many organizations including churches are ‘pushing’ information to their audiences rather than using techniques to ‘pull’ audiences in for engagement.,” she says. “We can use media to push information out about the church, but this is the perfect opportunity to use media to pull audience members in and engage them in spiritual thinking or conversation.”
Denise offers two IMM video resources with this purpose in mind.
Both video resources feature the story of Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, who led relief efforts in his city during a plague in 250 AD that killed tens of thousands. Cyprian led a movement of the church to finance relief efforts and to care for the sick and dying – even the pagans who had persecuted the church.
Although both videos offer the same content about Cyprian and the pandemic outbreak, each video closes with a different conversation-starter question.
These questions are designed to engage the audience in one of two ways. “We offer two options to give churches a choice in how they want to engage with their audiences as well as to offer churches a chance to use both approaches in different ways,” says Denise.
One approach opens the door for audiences to share their prayer requests.
The second approach provokes audiences to think about character, their relationship to Christ and how that relationship influences actions.
After posting either or both of the videos, Denise encourages pastors and church staff to monitor social media feeds and respond to and/or engage with those leaving comments.
“There are many applicable verses that go with these questions, but some you might want to have on hand to use in conversations include:
* John 14:27 … My peace I leave you
* Hebrews 13:5 … Never leave or forsake you
* Matthew 6:21 … Heart & treasure
* Matthew 15:18-19 … Things coming from your mouth and heart defile you
* Romans 8:31-39 … Nothing separates us from the love of God
* John 10:9-10 … Christ is the door to abundant life.
“Just as in Cyprian’s time when a plague was ravashing his city, the current COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for the church to shine bright, offer answers and hope,” says Denise. “These videos are one of many ways to do just that.”
Note: The full-length story of Cyprian will release in September in English as part of The Heritage Project: Lost Legacy Reclaimed.
(Season 1 available now on https://watch.redeemtv.com/lost-legacy-reclaimed Bible study available)
Below are links to the videos, which are available for use free of charge. Just copy the link into the social media post.
Are you struggling in this time of crisis? We would like to pray for you.
How do you think God wants to use you in a time of crisis?
If you’d like to go deeper into how you can use social media to reach people online, here’s a free e-book offered by IMM: https://mobileministryforum.org/social-media-ministry-made-easy/
AG Missionary Scott Smith offers the Spanish advice for the video here: https://vimeo.com/407592008
In Spanish, culturally there was call for a third question :
“How are you thinking about God in this crisis (more or less)”
These first two would be the equivalent to the English ones.
Una es una invitación a rezar por la gente al final del video.
Your character in crisis
La segunda es dedicarse a pensar en nuestro carácter y en quiénes somos en Cristo o no en Cristo y cómo nos impacta la estación en la que estamos.
View of God in Crisis
Un desafío mayor es cómo esta crisis afecta a quien creemos que es Dios.