In the fourth quarter of 2020, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is still increasing. It had seemed as though the epidemic in South Korea was subsiding, but the second wave began, and social distancing returned.
In many places, churches are now going back to online worship due to government guidelines that limit face-to-face worship services. People’s fatigue from coronavirus is approaching its limit. People cannot eat at restaurants. They cannot enjoy relaxing at a café. Much of the restaurant sales volume is being converted to packaging and delivery.
Everything is going digital. Worship is done online, and food orders are being placed through smartphone apps. For several months already, children have been unable to go to school and are taking online classes at home on computers. Many office workers are working from home, and people are unable to go out on holidays. Instead, they are accessing various media content at home using smartphones, TVs, and computers.
In April 2020, the number of global mobile app downloads increased by 25 percent compared to the second half of 2019. According to some statistics, in April, smartphone users around the globe spent an average of 4.3 hours per day on mobile platforms. This is a natural result since people can’t get outdoors due to the pandemic situation.
Although the use of smartphones can be detrimental to physical and mental health, since people are using their smartphones anyway, it would be better to provide content that is more physically and mentally helpful so that people can come into contact with the health message, the Bible truth, and Jesus Christ. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce the three angels’ messages from the Bible and help save many.
I started online digital evangelism through YouTube, using the skills I gained while working as a Media Center manager of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division based in Seoul, Korea. Nowadays, I watch various digital evangelism channels and try to learn from them. I am also receiving requests for advice and cooperation on digital missions from pastors and people from various fields.
A few days ago, a local church pastor called me to ask how to do online church service programs and digital evangelism. Below are some key points from my advice to the pastor.
First, in order to start online worship services and digital evangelism in the church, you need to invest money and time. For example, when trying to broadcast a worship service held in a church, you need to install video equipment, such as a camcorder, video switcher, and audio mixer for video production. You will also need a group of team members who are willing to spend their time regularly to operate the equipment and produce the video content.
Second, ideas and efforts are needed to produce creative content. Many pastors and internet missionaries start digital missions through various channels, but there are times when they feel discouraged and eventually give up due to insignificant views compared to the financial investment and efforts they made. This is, in a way, a natural result. You cannot get a passionate response by merely sending out church worship sermons. More creative ideas and practices are needed. For example, try to upload sermons on interesting topics or prophecy studies in the Bible that many Christians are curious about, and include excellent graphic materials and effects that support them. This will help more viewers listen to the words and messages delivered on your channel.
Third, respect copyright and do not violate copyright laws. Although many pastors are starting digital evangelism these days, they often lack knowledge about copyright issues. Copyright holders are musicians and artists who have produced music, photos, and videos through creative efforts, spending much time and energy, and we need to respect their efforts. It is not a genuine Christian attitude to steal their rights without permission. You must purchase and use music, photos, and videos through proper channels. And if you don’t have enough financial resources, you can get help from sites that provide copyright-free music, photo, and videos.
Fourth, it is necessary to continually develop your channel while benchmarking other channels. Already, many digital missionaries are uploading Bible talks and sermons through various channels. In the beginning stage, you seldom get a lot of subscribers and views. But if you consistently produce and upload high-quality content for a period of time, such as a few months or years, the views will steadily increase. When one video has outstanding views, then the other videos will also follow the same path. Until that time comes, you must continue to develop your channel.
Fifth, we must pray that the Holy Spirit will work so that many souls can receive the gospel message. More internet missionaries should be trained in the post-coronavirus era. Digital evangelism is possible in various ways. Suppose we could spread the Bible truth on multiple platforms, such as YouTube, KakaoTalk, Line, WhatsApp, Naver Band & Café, WeChat, and PodBang, and receive positive responses for the Adventist Church. In that case, more people will be able to receive the three angels’ messages, and they will be prepared for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Above all, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit when we preach the words of God.
Face-to-face contact between people is becoming increasingly difficult due to COVID-19. Not only social distance but also emotional distance is blocking our ways to the people. But at times like these, we need innovative minds to reverse our ideas, to turn crisis into opportunity. Remember what the apostle Paul said: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22, NIV). Remember, “all possible means.” The apostle Paul made an effort to reach out to others to save different people in different circumstances. So he helped save many. My prayer is that this missionary spirit that was in Paul will be rekindled in our hearts.