Evangelism in the Digital Age

Every day thousands of people around the world connect to the internet seeking answers to their questions. The internet has actually made it easier for spiritual seekers to seek out spiritual information because they can do it in relative anonymity, which turns out to be very beneficial, especially if you live in a country that is hostile to religion in general or Christianity specifically.

Cru has had a digital presence for many years with the creation of our everystudent.com and everyperson.com websites.

Using strategic google advertising and marketing, articles that appear on our sites are viewed by thousands of people from around the world each day, with millions coming to know Jesus as a result.

A few weeks ago, I contacted Marilyn Adamson, who directs our online evangelism efforts. I’ve known Marilyn since 1998, when she and her husband were on a summer missions project that Jen and I attended in Myrtle Beach. Her husband Mike was one of my trainers that summer as Jen and I were being trained to become new Cru directors at UC Davis.

I e-mailed Marilyn to let her know I was available to connect with Young Adults who might come to Christ through our websites and who continue engaging with us via one of our Follow-Up platforms, such as StartingWithGod.com.

Marilyn promptly e-mailed me back to tell me that the timing of my e-mail was “quite interesting.” We set up a phone conversation where she told me she had just been approached by someone who wanted to help Cru expand their online evangelism efforts by utilizing Facebook advertising.

Cru’s evangelism efforts had mostly been promoted through google advertising so Facebook would be a new avenue of engagement.

Marilyn was apprehensive about moving forward with Facebook advertising because she just didn’t have the capacity to monitor and manage our Facebook page (everystudent.com). But my “timely” e-mail made her think that it could work if I would be willing to manage and oversee the Facebook page. I agreed to help.

After a few days of nosing around the site, I noticed a lot of activity and interaction, mostly from people reacting to the articles and videos they had seen, or users posting positive comments of approval. But from my vantage point, it was hard to know whether the ads were really making an impact. I simply didn’t have access to the marketing data that would give an indication of the effectiveness of our campaigns.

I e-mailed Marilyn about a week later to share my insights. She quickly responded telling me how thankful she was that I was monitoring the page and weeding out spammers and scammers and interacting with people who were wanting to engage.

She then told me something that floored me. She said that in just the few weeks they had been promoting the site through targeted advertising, over 330 people had indicated decisions to place their faith in Christ!

A few days ago, I saw some “Insights” that Facebook sends their users regarding the amount of traffic and activity on their page.

I was amazed to see that in the 28 day period shown, our ads reached over 7 million people, with over a million people engaging in some way with the content being published (Likes, comments, sharing, etc.).

Social media is a mixed bag these days and I’ve written about the downsides of social media in previous posts here,  here and here. But there are positive aspects to it as well and it’s not likely to go away as it has been firmly planted within our culture.

One positive benefit of social media is it allows us to get the gospel to millions of spiritual seekers very quickly and we can reach people in locations that would be very difficult to get to personally.

If you would like to use everystudent.com or everyperson.com articles to reach people in your network of relationships, consider sharing an article to your Facebook feed or other social media platforms and invite your friends to read and discuss with you. It’s an easy way to share your faith with others!

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