Social media has contributed much to the creation of a global society. As a college student thirty years ago, I limited my long distance phone calls back home, on the land-line, because it was expensive. Today, we can video chat with friends across the world, for free. This means we can reach the nations through social media.
I interviewed my friend, Aaron, of Crescent Project (www.crescentproject.org), about his use of social media in their Embassy ministry. Embassy volunteers use public-access forums to connect with Muslims in closed countries who speak English. Whether you work as a missionary or not, this should get you thinking about some easy ways to engage Muslims around the world. You could be the one Christian somebody knows.
Question: How is Embassy using social media?
Answer: After training, volunteers receive guidance in meeting friends. Most volunteers utilize social media platforms like Facebook, in which they help people improve their English. Friendships form, and deeper, personal conversations often follow. Other volunteers utilize Muslim-specific online forums, where conversations about anything begin through public posts. As friendships develop, conversations can then move to being private. Since February 2020, Embassy has added over 100 new volunteers, and it now has a growing Facebook private group for volunteers and staff to encourage and coach each other.
Question: What is working well, and what is challenging?
Answer: Missiologists share that Muslims have come to know Jesus most commonly through dreams and visions, meeting an authentic Christian, and reading the Bible. These ways of meeting Jesus can happen more often through social media. Here are some challenges: a) there is risk that volunteers accidentally communicate in the wrong places on social media that they are with Embassy, which could jeopardize Embassy and be dangerous for friends in closed countries; b) while long obedience of volunteers is best in developing trusting relationships, social media leans toward surface-level, short-term relationships.
Question: How do you think social media could be helpful to Global Gates?
Answer: Missionaries could inform their supporters about Embassy and encourage them to be Embassy volunteers, especially if the outreach focus is for Muslims of a certain closed country. This could help grow the outreach, and it could help strengthen the interest in, and financial support for, the missionary.
One Global Gates associate missionary has been an Embassy volunteer for the past six months. Facebook video chatting every 1-2 weeks with eight friends of Kurdistan, Syria, and Egypt has been a rich experience! If you want to reach the nations through social media, feel free to contact Embassy directly. This can even be a way to get to know an unreached people group living in your city.