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
Meet Alex, a Bulgarian student who was wondering about the purpose of life and the existence of God. While searching the internet he found our evangelistic website everystudent.com. After reading many of the articles, Alex became convinced that God was real and Jesus offered a way for him to connect with God. He accepted Jesus in his life, and through resources on the site and an email follow-up series, he grew in his relationship with the Lord.
Alex became convinced that the site needed to be translated into Bulgarian for his countrymen to also discover the Good news about Jesus. He contacted our ministry, and with their help, he translated the site. He advertised on FaceBook to make the site known.
The workshop we conducted in Bulgaria helped Alex to develop his content strategy to reach Bulgarians. The past three months he had 40 000 site visitors and 400 people invited Jesus into their lives. We planned together what next steps he could take with these new believers and how he could see more people visit the site.
Here some of my pictures in Bulgaria.
Thank the Lord for what He is doing in Bulgaria and pray for Alex and our missionaries from the other Eastern European countries to serve the Lord with all their hearts and skills.
“Miheret how do you want me to narrate this in the script we are working on?” Asked a local creative leader who is helping me to create a short vision video for our team.
“Let me check what God is doing as reflected in the Cru digital ecosystem” was my answer. Wow! It turns out over 1.7 million unique visitors experienced at least one of our Cru properties that week.
He exclaimed, “we are just in the first week of January!”
We both grew very excited about what we were seeing.
Yes, God is connecting people to Himself through our many digital channels. God blessed us with the biggest “mountain” which I believe is the mobile device, to lift up our voice and proclaim the good news to others.
You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[a]
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
In Sofia, Bulgaria we will meet with 70 Central and Eastern European Cru leaders. This week we will discuss Digital missions and will do an intensive content strategy workshop.
If you are reading my newsletter, I am 100% confident you have a smartphone or a computer. Every now and then, your digital device notifies you to download updates for security reasons and for a better digital experience. As we take the initiative to share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, digital missions requires us to continuously change our methods of creating an experience for our users. But our message remains the same, as fresh as it was 2000 years ago.
In Sofia, Bulgaria we will train others in what it means to have an integrated content strategy for better ministry impact. We will help countries to rebuild their national websites, as well as prepare the infrastructure for them to use their digital tools well to reach others for Christ.
Have you ever encountered God changing your worst day into a beautiful message or event? I have seen that many times. One day in 2014, I was in the Nairobi airport transiting from a trip was processing a difficult personal rejection experience. I was having the loneliest moment of my life despite the crowd around me. Two godly men came and introduced themselves to me. In my pain, I was not the mood for talking but answered some of their friendly questions about my life and what I do. Right before their departure, one of them left me his business card. Later I added them to my newsletter list and learned that they are from Kansas State.
Three years later, as I visited my family in the Kansas City area, I got a chance to meet the two guys and their church missions leaders in Wichita Kansas. I discovered that the Eastminster church in Wichita has been praying for East Africa for a number of years and they send a missions team there. Over time they accepted me as an answer to their prayers for East Africa and started supporting and praying for my ministry. On top of that, on my first trip to see them, I had an amazing experience that led to it being featured on www.cru.org.
Since then, every year I spent a weekend sharing God's stories and His goodness with the Eastminster family in Wichita. The following pictures were taken from speaking to different groups there this past weekend.
God is awesome! He changed my pain and rejection into a memorable and loving experience. I am very thankful for you. I am thankful for the last ten years of ministry with Cru with you on my side.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving season!
መቼም በፌስቡክ ላይ ብዙ አይነት ነገሮችን ከሰሞኑ እንመልከታለን። በዚህ የኢትዮጵያ የለውጥ ጉዞ ቀልቤን ከሳበው ትልቅ ነገር የካሱ ገረመው ፎቶ ነበር። ይህ ብላቴኔ በኮንሶ የሚኖር ታዳጊ ሲሆን በሰፈሩ ከኮንሶ ያቤሎ የመንገድ ስራ ላይ ኤክስካቫተር፤ ግሬደር እና ገልባጭ መኪኖችን በመንገድ ስራ ሲመላለሱ ተመልከተ። በዓይምሮው እሱ ምን መስራት እንድሚችል በመረዳት ኤክስካቫተር በካርቶኒ እና በመርፌ ስሪንጅ በመገጣጠም የራሱ "ካሱ" የተባለ ኤክስካቫተር ለመስራት በቅቷል። ምስሉም ቪዲዩውም እንሆ
የሳይንስና ቴክኖሎጂ ሚኒስቴር ሚኒስትር ጌታሁን መኩሪያ (ዶ/ር ኢንጂ.) የታዳጊው የፈጠራ ውጤት ለሀገር የሚጠቅም ነው በማለት አፈላልገው አዲስ አበባ ድረስ አስመጥተው በመ/ቤታቸው የሚገኘውን የፈጠራ ላብራቶሪ እንዲመለክት አድርገውታል። ይህን የካሱን መልካም ጅምር ለማበረታት ሚ/ር መ/ቤቱ እያደረገ ያለው መልካም ተግባር ደግ የሚያሰኝ ነው።
Yes, God gives many gifts. The gift of healing for example. But do I need to travel to a specific place to experience those gifts? Do I need to know people who know certain “special” people so that Jesus would heal me? Do I have to give money so that I could get healed? Do I have to give money so that I will get back more?
I observe all these things when I watch some satellite ‘Christian’ TV programs in Africa. I have struggled with this topic for a long time but decided I could not keep my thoughts to myself.
Television, like other media platforms can be used to share the gospel with many. But the effectiveness of the TV platform is limited as it is mainly one way communication. TV is very useful to broadly sow the gospel. You can add texting, phone calls and social media platforms to increase the effectiveness. But the problem is NOT using Christian TV, but it becomes a problem when you use Christian TV to replace the physical church.
When you read a good book you get wisdom and information from the author. Even when the writer inspires you, in most cases it's impossible to consider the author your friend or your pastor. Because pastoral ministry is about shepherding the people known to the pastor.
The satellite TV programs are often filling people’s minds with confused theology and spiritual practices. Often the Christian programs suggests that whatever you hear and see on TV, is what God is saying. But we should listen carefully. Sadly I see preachers on TV who have selfish desires to become idols themselves. They use the platform for selling almost everything.
The first church in the book of Acts was known for:
Some years ago my friend invited me to an early Sunday morning service at his church. We finished the service around 10am and it was too early to go for lunch so he took me to another church that started 10:30am. I must admit I didn't listen to a single statement as my mind was full from the first service. I needed time to soak it in and reflect on it. After the second service we had lunch and my good friend suggested we attend an afternoon service in another church. I could not believe it. I declined.
I see that same principle when I see people switching channel after channel to hear from God. How do you grow and become a disciple like that? What type of fruit do you bear?
For me when a sinner, like me, comes to know God and becomes a child of God, that is a huge miracle. I am a miracle! I am a child of God.
I don’t have to spend money to see a miracle. I don’t have to wait until my mobile number is mentioned. The greatest miracle was when God became Emmanuel, and showed His unfailing love through Jesus Christ.
I love preaching the gospel to myself. If the gospel does not satisfy me, then nothing else would!
Lee Strobel describes John 1:12 like this and I agree with him.
Believe + Receive = Become a child of God John 1:12
Three things you can do
Share your story below.
Miheret T. Eshete