#TreasuredTruth #182Of366 #RawderKidulaKedaha
In this era of online ministry, it is no longer about the churches with large numbers of congregants or an overflow tent; it is now all about the number of views, comments, likes and shares. Now, this information and be accessed by anyone, you can visit any ministry online and check out what they are up to and get an overview of their content and online engagement. Now this is crazy, a church that boasted of over five thousand congregants now has sixty views during the church service. Where are the four thousand and forty? My guess is as good as yours, some cannot afford to be online, some do not believe in online church, some have found greener pastures online and are attending other services, and also, some of our pastors are not good online communicators, they are trying to apply physical church tactics on instagram live.
I am a social media consultant and manager; I manage social media pages for a few ministries and companies, (yes, this is me advertising here, by now you know how to reach me, hahaha) I often give reports on how the pages are doing, who watched the service, for how long they did, who shared, who commented, etc. I have seen the frustrations in people faces when numbers are low, I have seen people check out other ministries so as to know how well or bad they are doing, in terms of views and likes; don’t get me wrong, benchmarking is good, but I believe we should benchmark with content, not with numbers. It is crazy out here, the struggle is real. Churches are now focused on the views instead of checking out who is in the inbox crying for help, we are quick to boost our pages with thousands of money, but slow to reach out to the hungry single mother in the inbox who just needs two hundred shillings for food. After all, the public cannot access our inbox, and all that we care about is good branding, our image is key. Of course we are called to reach out to millions! Not the two desperate people ‘disturbing’ us in the inbox.
I know what you are waiting for me to say, just before that let me remind you of something that happened in Acts 16:11-15. So Paul receives a powerful call to mission work, together with Silas and Luke, they head to Phillipi, a great city. In such a great city, one would expect thousands to be waiting for a huge conference, with Paul, Luke and Silas on Billboards! But on their arrival, they discovered that there was not even one synagogue, the Jewish law required ten males to form a synagogue and since there were no ten God fearing men in the city there was no synagogue. However, there was a group of women outside the city praying. Oh yes, women were not esteemed in that culture, so why would these great men of God travel all the way to come and talk to women at the riverbank? To make matters worse, the people were forbidden to bring unknown religions to the city.
Paul had all reasons to go back home, he had all reasons to vent and look for whoever invited him for payback. But he chooses to go speak to the women at the riverbank. Maybe it did not look like the powerful miracle service he pictured, but he went anyway. ‘One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home.’ (Acts 16: 15-15) Wow! Something happened at the riverbank that was worth being recorded in the Bible.
My heart cries out for the online church. Is anyone willing to go to the Riverbank and speak to a group of women? Is anyone talking to Lydia? Will we still preach with passion when its one person watching or will we withdraw and say online church is not working? Now, away from church, for you as a minister, are you motivated by numbers or impact? Is it about how many people will watch or about who God wants you to reach out to? Paul was not discouraged by the situation he found. No church, no huge congregation in some stadium, no big hotel to sleep in, not allowed to preach, a small congregation made up of women, the meeting is at a riverbank. But he still went to speak.
Oh and about the title of today’s article, I wish I had the list, but only God does. He knows the impact; He knows each ministries motive, he can access the inbox and those private zoom meetings. It is about the impact, numbers do lie.