Over the course of this year, I want to bring ways to help you minister over a distance, either culturally or geographically. I want to help you have a greater influence, to build your capacity to reach further and to do it in a way that does not drain you. Here is one of those ways.
Maybe you have a friend on another campus that is not part of a ministry. Maybe you have a partner with a child interested in making a difference on their campus. Maybe you are a friend with someone on Facebook that you wish you could disciple. Marilyn Adamson, Director of EveryStudent.com, has a suggestion about how you can minister over the internet.
Today’s newsletter: discipling someone over the Internet.
As we disciple students, how do we teach Christian students ministry skills? First, we go over some training content. Then we model it to them. Right? We show them how to do it. In terms of what we have modeled so far, most of us have shown Christian students only one way to do evangelism and discipleship. And that’s in-person, face-to-face.
But have they seen us minister to someone using the Internet? Since we want to build lifetime laborers for Jesus, we want them to know how to share the gospel and disciple someone online! Here is one way.
http://www.StartingwithGod.com contains great messages for discipleship. As a website, everything on it is free and immediately available to the student and to you! You don’t have to pay for, print, or distribute anything.
So, here’s what you do. You tell a Christian student:
“I would like to show you how to use the Internet in ministry. To do that, I would like to send you a short article from the Internet each week, for the next four weeks, and we will discuss it together, online. How would you prefer to discuss it? By Facebook messages, or by email, or by IM chat?” (Let the student choose.)
They will tell you which way they want to interact. Now you’re going to send them an article. In your email or Facebook message to them, you say something like:
“Many Christians are unsure about their relationship with Christ. This article will show you what Jesus said he would do, once we asked him to enter our lives: http://www.startingwithgod.com/new-life/am-i-christian After you read this article, message me back by Tuesday. And tell me why you know that Jesus is in your life. Thanks. I’m looking forward to this!”
If the student wants to discuss the article by Instant Message, then you might end with,
“Looking forward to talking with you on Facebook IM, this Tuesday at 9pm.”
Discuss the article like you would in a Bible study or in a personal followup appointment. Ask a few questions. Email or message back and forth.
The next week, pick another article to send them. It could be from EveryStudent.com, if you’d rather. Some topics you could discuss:
- Does sin put our relationship with God at risk? http://www.startingwithgod.com/struggles/fall
- How would you explain Jesus’ deity to someone you’re sharing with? http://www.everystudent.com/features/faith.html
- Are you personally experiencing God’s love this way? http://www.startingwithgod.com/new-life/gods-love
In summary: Send them the article. Add a question or two. Talk about it together by back and forth emails, or Facebook messaging, or IM. Do this at least four times with various articles. From then on, it will feel comfortable to them, and to you. And they will be able to do this easily with other students. You will have equipped them with a way to do ministry while on the Internet!! (Here is how to grab the hyperlink to an article.)
Marilyn has other such tips on how to use the internet in ministry. You can receive her emails when she sends out such ideas by going to http://www.everystudentpromotion.com/ to sign up. What I like about this is how it takes the your passion and experience and allows you to broaden your ministry so much easier.