This post was first shared on Indigitous.org.
The coronavirus disrupted everything. Our ministry made a number of pivots. It required taking risks — big and small. We took a risk to see if we could link people’s need for prayer with an experience of being prayed for plus a Gospel presentation. We called the experiment There Is Hope.
We are doing three things with this experiment:
“I hope I can be prayed for on this platform…Please pray for me and beg God on my behalf to forgive me and grant me one last chance.” This desperate request was sent to us by a young man named Justin*. Justin is a fetish priest. He wrote to us after an online prayer experience organized to give hope to Nigerians during the pandemic. The event had attracted more than 16,000 people on Facebook over the last five weeks. It is easy for many people to say yes to receiving prayer!
Samuel, a missionary in Nigeria, received one of the contacts generated by a “There Is Hope” prayer event. As he connected with this person, Yusuf, he found out that Yusuf was contemplating suicide. As a result of Samuel’s conversation and prayers, Yusuf decided not to attempt suicide. But it didn’t end there. Yusuf later met a lady, Aisha, who told him that she was thinking about suicide. Yusuf then shared his experience with her about the encouragement he received in Jesus when he, too, had been contemplating suicide. Aisha was so encouraged that she decided not to continue with her plans.
In a live event hosted in the Philippines, we saw 72 people indicate their decision to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. The thousands of prayer requests we have received from all these countries have similar trends. People are experiencing loneliness, fear and anxiety, relationship struggles, health challenges and financial struggles. People need hope that only God can provide. The There Is Hope campaign aims to help them experience that hope.
* Editor’s note: For security reasons, all names have been changed.
This blogpost was first shared on equipping4eministry.com
I’m sure by now most of you are aware of The Blessing by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes. This beautiful song went viral in a short period of time. It was such a prophetic and anointed one right before the global pandemic. Singers from all over the world adopted this song into their languages, cultures, and music arrangements. I have seen city mayors, influencers, and people at every level engaging with this music as their own. It would be neat to see the impact through detailed analytics.
I have been reflecting on this song and what I learn from it. The number of views is huge . . . not just in English but in all the languages shared on YouTube.
The original video has 18,665 comments. All these engagements are organic (I’m not sure if there was any paid advertising by the music owners). I even saw some comments from people sharing how they received Jesus Christ.
I continued scrolling the comment sections and couldn’t believe what I was reading. People are choosing joy over their suffering. Others are still asking for justice, healing, and even favor from God in a humble spirit. People are sharing their stories with the World.
There are 368K thumbs up… and 7.3K thumbs down. I ask myself, “Why did they give thumbs down for this music?” I’m sure some viewers have more questions for God and for us.
So what, Miheret?
Watching the video encouraged me, but left me with more questions. I was frustrated. This video could be a great opportunity for deeper spiritual conversations and for building online communities. How can we seize these opportunities? The people commenting on YouTube matter to God. Many may need a community where they could grow in their walk with Jesus Christ.
How Do We Seize Viral Opportunities for Christ?
Several social media links are under the video description, but no invitations. Did any of the 23+ million viewers need and find answers or community?
Of course, this global engagement is bigger than one church could handle. How do we help the body of Christ to win, build, and send Christ-centered multiplying disciples? Do we have tools and strategies for this kind of opportunity or do we need new ones?
I imagined more but will stop here. I pray every person touched by this music finds a community where they can impact their world for Jesus. May this even be true for those who are still angry with God.
May we be the ones who help. Let’s face the new world today to be relevant for tomorrow.
“...Has anything like this ever happened in your days?...” Prophet Joel asked this question to elders and everyone who listened. Joel 1:2
Just like in Joel’s time, we are asking ourselves, "What explanation can be given for what is happening around the world right now? Who thought a flu-like virus could shut down all regular activities almost everywhere in the world?" In our generation, this is one of the biggest global phenomena we are witnessing.
A few days after the Cru Digital Strategy core team meetings, we immediately started shaping our communication to help fellow staff members fully shift into digital ministry opportunities. This is the time where our global digital strategy team is stretching to serve all Cru ministries to pivot into digital space.
Together with your ministry partnership, in the last 7 days, we are seeing 197 countries reached with COVID-related articles to help spiritual needs (fear, anxiety, and suffering) in our global digital ecosystem. 92 decisions for Christ via COVID-19 pages across Everystudent.com sites
Starting tomorrow, on March 25-27, the Indigitous community will be hosting five regional webinars curated in five continents (Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America) on practical digital ideas and tools that will help leaders engage in this challenging season. So far we have 1,500 people registered for all of these webinars already!
If you are interested, signup for one of the webinars to learn more about new ways of doing ministry during COVID-19 and answering these questions:
- How do we reach people online?
- How do we disciple people online?
- How do we do church online?
The relationship bridge of technology is more important than ever! You can care for the people of your congregation or network, and invite those who are far from Jesus to experience love, forgiveness, and community found in Him, using digital strategies. You can have a growing, effective ministry over distance and we want to help!
Please forward this to friends and church leaders you know by sharing the links on the left.
Helping You Share Your Faith
2019 Snapshot Thank you Lord for each life you touched
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Just as my co-worker was closing his laptop, Flora's chat message caught his eye. Her message read, "Hey, I would want to know more of Jesus..."
Singapore's churches had rented out the National Stadium, with a capacity of 50,000 people, for a series of events called the Celebration of Hope. Broadcasting the event online was a strategy we helped pitch to event organizers and helped make a reality.
"Pearl, can you take Flora?" my teammate asked a fellow online responder. "Sure," smiled Pearl as she sent a message back to Flora and then quickly headed to catch the last subway train home, continuing to chat with Flora on her mobile device.
The next morning, checking the messages, we were thrilled to learn that Flora and Pearl had chatted online until 2:30 am when Pearl helped Flora commit her life to Christ. Flora had watched the event online. God's Spirit was working and had used Pearl to answer Flora's questions and calm her fears. Praise God!
Click here to start personal relationship with Jesus right now
Cru has approximately 72 million users that come into contact with our websites around the world each year– that’s 200,000 people every day that we have the opportunity to interact with and guide on their spiritual journey!
We are asking this question: How can we give personalized spiritual growth experiences that are tailored to our online visitor’s needs and interests?
Every number has a name
Every name has a story
Every story matters to God
Therefore, we are working hard to get the right content to the right person at the right time, by using the right channel.
In October, I helped launch the first in a series of webinars that train and equip our global staff in digital missions. The first webinar was about the best use of analytics in ministry. We had 82 leaders who participated, representing just about every region of the world. I invited three panelists from Cru’s leading experts in the field of analytics to share their best practices and insight.
In the Bible, we often see examples of Jesus taking time to know the people he was ministering to. Paul also speaks in 1 Cor 9:20, how his message was framed strategically based on his audiences, for example, for the Jews, the Greeks and others.
We identify and group our online users according to four categories that basically boils down to their level (or scale) of belief. Those categories are:
Unaware: People who don’t know Jesus Christ.
Curios: People who are asking questions and are exploring about Jesus
Follower: People who follow Jesus Christ
Guide: People who are actively sharing their faith and participating in the Great Commission.
Pray for wisdom as we try and help each of the people in these categories take their next step in their spiritual journeys.
What's your experience in using analytics for ministry?
Did you notice, the very first verse you read in the Holy Bible is about innovation? How exciting is that? The Merriam-webster dictionary defines innovation as “the introduction of something new.”
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). That is a unique innovation with no other match. God is the creator of all things and we are His creation. He inspires us to be creative as we look for and find new ways of doing things.
Gary W. Oster from Regent University writes:
“Innovation may be redemptive. Scripture and the personal experience of Christians worldwide show that God uses innovation for humans to know more of Him, to communicate with Him, and to ultimately accomplish His earthly will for mankind.What makes innovation a Christian innovation? “Innovation is Christian when it is ultimately aligned with God’s purpose and methods,” Oster says.
It was this Youtube video above that inspired me to write this short blog post. In it, David Wesley leads many creative vocalists on Youtube to form a virtual choir.
The video description mentions that this creative work features the voices of 48 singers from 14 countries. It was a labour of love lasting 5 months, and many dozens of work hours.
This is one great example of how we can glorify God in new creative ways. We can clearly see that they put a lot of time and collaboration in to produce this amazing masterpiece.
What talent and creative ideas are buried deep inside your heart? What is holding you back from doing something about the ideas you are thinking day and night? Ideas come and go and we have limited time to execute them into reality. Innovation ideas are rarely accomplished by one person. Great innovation happens in a community.
I am assuming you know Jesus Christ and you have a personal relationship with Him. I want to encourage you today that God, who anointed Bezalel and Oholiab in Exodus 36 with skill, is still working and would fill you with the Holy Spirit to accomplish His purpose here on Earth.
If God is asking you “what’s in your hand,” what will be your answer? Is it music? Is it coding, design, or speaking? The list goes on. God deposited a talent in each one of us to accomplish His purpose here on earth. To change the world, your talent matters!
Every year in October, hundreds of creatives, innovators, strategists, and digital folks, or just anyone with a heart for missions come together to use their digital talents to solve missional challenges that would help bring the Gospel to the ends of the world with Indigitous #HACK.
Join the movement, share your talent, and help change the world!
RUNWrite the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
My grandpa Memere Bete is now 87 years old. He has so many amazing stories to share. In my recent trip to Ethiopia, I got to visit him in Tegulet.
Memere Bete is committed to his priesthood at Saint Mary Church, where he served from the age of 16. He reads his Psalms in Geez every day. This time since his eyes are failing, he reads the Psalm and the New Testament from memorization. He had a mobile phone long time before electricity reached his house. He loves talking with my mom and us on the phone.
My uncle Fisseha and his wife, Mulu.
Fisseha is a full-time farmer. He was busy working on his field when we arrived to see them. It was a great joy to spend some time with them. And I have a huge respect for how they work hard to live life.
Shiro and Kolo
I enjoy taking friends to nearby Ethiopian restaurants in Orlando. Selam is my favorite. After a delicious dish, I usually get asked what Ethiopian dessert options are? We have a choice of roasted barley, popcorn, and coffee. Sorry, we don't offer a movie, though. Lol
In my grandpa village, I was served with Kolo (roasted barley and wheat) with coffee. Desta, my cousin, prepared delicious Shiro stew and she was making calls on the phone. It's humbling to imagine life with them. I was fascinated by how mobile phones is changing our lifestyle from metro cities to villages.
Thank you for your time!
Very soon nearly every human will have a mobile device in their pocket. That means they will be able to have access to the gospel all day, every day—usually in a familiar language.
Together with our partners, Cru has the opportunity and the technology, to help millions of people all over the world take their next step of faith with Jesus Christ
Sometimes it's hard to share such vision in 60 seconds, especially when you work in a global scope, requiring you to bring cultural and digital transformation across the entire organization. By this, I mean a cultural and a mindset shift on how we share the unchanging gospel in the 21st century.
In an attempt to share this vision, I have been working with my team to produce this nine-minute vision video. Yes, nine minutes, so let me stop here so you can watch it... I am sure you will find it encouraging!
Thank you for praying and supporting what do with Cru to advance God's Kingdom.
Thanks for watching
Miheret T. Eshete