The last couple of months, I have been immersed in navigating our analytics migration process from one platform to a new one. Wikipedia defines Analytics as the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics. It is used for the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data. It also entails applying data patterns towards effective decision-making.
I want to share with you about one of the leading evangelistic websites Cru offers in 42 languages, EveryStudent.com. The following graphs show the trends of indicated decisions to accept Jesus over the last 10 years.
And the following numbers show the number of visitors and indicated decisions for the last 10 years on EveryStudent.com.
You might be asking different questions seeing those numbers. Let me share with you one exciting example with how God is at work.Meet Kelly, a student at Mamitete Technical College, in Malawi. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, he was browsing several websites looking for truth and hope and then came across our evangelistic website, everystudent.com, where he eventually indicated a decision for Christ.
Soon after. Kelly was followed up by Douglas, one of our staff members, and was embraced in the leadership groups, which was meeting online. Douglas began discipling Kelly one-on-one online with an invitation to join a WhatsApp Bible Study group.
Shortly after, Kelly, now empowered to share the gospel, reached out to 21 collegemates online with a gospel presentation, with 5 of them giving their lives to Christ! Since the month of May 2020, Kelly has been ministering to 15 students on his campus virtually.
As a result, a spiritual movement launched on the Namitete campus for the first time. This college is one of the six campuses opened digitally during our ministry Hope2020 campaign.
When the restriction of the lockdown is eased and students are back on campus, Kelly and his team are able to meet face to face and continue to share the good news of Jesus among students.
This is such a great opportunity in our generation to share the gospel to every corner of the earth online. And we know behind every mobile device, there is a person. Every person has a story. Every story matters to God.
The New Normal
What will you do when everything you have worked on to achieve your goal vanishes?
We tend to set ambitious goals and strategic plans a year or more in advance. Things were “normal” until the end of 2019. In December I got married surrounded by many I loved, with no thought of social distancing. Then everything changed drastically and rapidly.
Faced with uncertainty, it can be tempting to continue to lead with the goals you set pre-COVID. Rather than waiting for things to go back to normal, however, you can take risks to pursue your dreams diligently with new innovative ideas.
I believe God has blessed us with digital strategies to continue striving for our goals despite an unpredictable 2020. The primary skill required here is not being technical, but being agile. Are you willing to pivot and run ministry as a continuous experiment to reach your audience?
We recently launched the Digital Academy 2.0 to equip you and your teams with basic digital strategy principles, tools and models. In a recent webinar, we discussed the need for innovation and digital transformation in Cru and gave a sneak peek of The Basics series as practical next steps for participants.
Take for example, Yomi Adeyinka, our digital champion in Nigeria. Yomi is going through The Basics with his 27 co-workers, including the Great Commission Movement Nigeria’s national team leader. After watching each training video individually, they come together on WhatsApp to reflect on the content. Yomi and his team are taking on new projects as they go through The Basics. His one-sentence description for The Basics is as follows: “It’s short, clear and straight to the point with a sample and worksheet.”
Why wait? Experience it for yourself like Yomi.
You can take risks to pursue your dreams diligently with new innovative ideas. - Miheret Tilahun
Join us in digital missions
Join us in digital missions as we launch a global hackathon starting today. Watch my friend Simon Seow shares the heart behind digital missions.
There Is Hope campaign transforms lives
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.
Let's Go Digital - Here's How!
“...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.
GodTools 2019 Year in Review
Helping You Share Your Faith
2019 Snapshot Thank you Lord for each life you touched
These tools help you simply and clearly explain to someone how they can begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Why use GodTools?
GodTools can help you share your faith any time, any place, and in multiple languages. Think of it as your always ready guide to evangelism.
80+ LanguagesWith the toggle button you can easily switch between your heart language and theirs.
Get it on the app store here
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
The Joys of Webinars
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?
Let's Journey Together
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