People considering online evangelism often ask how it is different than how they have shared Jesus in the past. It is a good question because there are critical differences with face-to-face evangelism but also wonderful opportunities to get started for those that have yet to start sharing Jesus. We want to highlight a few of those distinctions.
Conversations come to you versus having to find them
One of the biggest differences is how conversations come about. Working with an online ministry means those volunteering to share the Gospel are receiving conversations without having to generate those individually. This removes one of the biggest fears in evangelism which is to find someone and start a conversation. In online evangelism, seekers are coming to you and all you must do is say hello and ask them what is going on.
Anonymity encourages honesty and authenticity
Both the volunteer and person reaching out to us are unable to see each other and not burdened by the frequent fears that come with face-to-face evangelism. You also can share from the comfort and safety of your own home. In online evangelism, age or gender biases often are removed as people meet one another openly and freely without fear of judgement.
Geographic reach is exponential
Simple messages shared online or through social media bring in diverse segments of society from all over the world. You can connect with people from varying cultures freely and without geographic boundaries. People that you could never meet in other countries are now a click away from sharing their story with you and hearing how Jesus has changed your life.
Tone and emotion are harder to detect
One of the disadvantages of online evangelism is it is more difficult to pick up on tone or emotions. We only see the words they type and not body language, facial expressions, or changes in tone. However, this can be overcome with a few simple clarifying questions that help you understand where this person is coming from and how emotional they are about the conversation.
Resources and support are a click away
Most people start with a list of questions and concerns about whether they can do evangelism. They may worry over not knowing the answer to every question, whether they will remember certain Bible passages, or whether they are qualified to share the Gospel. The beauty of online evangelism is there are a wide assortment of resources available at your fingertips. Outlines for how to handle hard topics, links to verses and biblical questions, as well as contact information for experts and other organizations when someone requires special help.
We would all agree that we are commanded by Christ to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”. This starts with simply loving people, listening to their story and having a conversation. We can be assured that as certain as Jesus gave us this directive, He will also give us the words to say as we yield to the Spirit of God working in us.
Need Him wants to encourage those who have been sitting on the sidelines wondering if they could do this. Many seminaries and ministries have come to see that this is the perfect first step to learn how to start evangelizing before someone goes out to do it in person. While sharing online, you also have the support of ministry leaders and other volunteers who are willing to offer prayer support along with resources you can rely on while sharing. Further, if you find yourself in a difficult conversation or one that you may not feel confident to manage, you can often transfer to another person who can take over the discussion for you.
We have volunteers from 18-91 years old meeting others with the Good News. If you are wondering whether you can do this, then we encourage you to visit https://needhim.org/get-involved/#volunteer to learn more about how you can take the first step in sharing your faith.