Internet Evangelism Day

Internet Evangelism Idea #15: 3 Creative Ideas from the Non-Western World

Written by davehackett

This post is part 15 in the series 20 Ways to Share Your Faith Online leading up to Internet Evangelism Day on April 25. We encourage you to tweet, share, blog & discuss these ideas in your church & circle of influence.

When we think of innovative ways to use the Web for evangelism, do we think the center of that creativity is in the U.S.? Hardly!

Here are three outstanding ideas for digital evangelism from the non-Western world that Christians are using today – with positive results.

1) From Far Eastern Europe: Search Facebook for your city, and send a city-personalized outreach message to invite discussion.

A group in an unreached far eastern European country is doing this every day, each day plumbing the Facebook search results for a different city to compile a set of Facebook people to email. By focusing on one city at a time the group can personalize the email to a degree – referencing local landmarks or what the city is famous for, and using those as bridges to a spiritual outreach message. The amazing results: From its exploratory emails the ministry gets an average of 1,000 people – every day! – writing back saying they are interested in talking more about spiritual matters, and raising their questions. Now there’s a sizeable group to follow up on!

2) From the Arabian Peninsula: Create a mobile Bluetooth evangelism hotspot – a sure conversation starter!

Mobile phones are just as popular in the Arabian Peninsula as they are elsewhere. And yes they have Bluetooth, too. So anywhere where there is a lot of foot traffic, fire up a relatively inexpensive Bluetooth radio “Bluecaster” (Bluetooth narrowcasting software) and shoot out an intriguing message to passersby whose mobile Bluetooth happens to be active. What can you think of to send out that starts a conversation? Bluecast everything from video and audio files to ringtones and mobile coupons (“Free Bible for you under the big blue umbrella – today only 10:00-2:00”).

3)  From Turkey: Create a series of short WordPress blogs specifically aimed at a segment of the population.

One digital ministry innovator, operating in Turkey, has found a very productive niche that yields interaction with a lot of unreached individuals. He continually creates stand-alone sites along the same theme, which is “Five Stories of…” So one blog is “Five Stories of Jesus Healing Women.” Another is “Five Stories of Jesus Talking to Women,” and so on. He links these with chat rooms to funnel those Turkish young people who want to talk further on spiritual topics.

Rev. Dave Hackett is associate director of visionSynergy, a team of partnership development specialists. See its resource site at Dave advises many networks and partnerships globally, particularly non-Western Internet evangelism networks. He has been with visionSynergy for seven years after serving as a Presbyterian missionary in Korea, a mission pastor, and a mission agency director. Dave lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and three daughters.

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  • Dave, thanks for sharing these ideas. I think you're right that we tend to think that all the creative Internet evangelism ideas come out of the West. It's cool that Christians in other parts of the world are trying innovative methods to reach people with the gospel.

    Do you think any of these ideas would work in the U.S.?

    I'm curious because… with idea #1, at least here in the US, I don't think you can get people's email addresses by searching Facebook. Most FB users keep that private.

    I've also never heard of anyone "bluecasting" in the U.S. Is it legal here? Seems like it wouldn't take very long for marketers to start using it for spam, people to complain, and the FTC to put an end to that.

    • I don't know the details for how the folks in the Far Eastern Europe do it exactly (on #1 with Facebook) – but either they send inquiries only to those who DO display their email, or they use the in-mail service (shielded) in some way.

      I think the bluecasting has immense potential in the US – a new, innovative market. Set one up anywhere – crowded walking area – mall – student center – using a portable bluecaster, and catch people. Certainly bluecasting is legal in the US! See my links to firms assisting with hardware and services, above. Surely it could be used to send spam, but people walking around with open bluetooth on their phones are by doing so giving permission to receive such communications. If the coupon is "good" enough, no one will call it spam.

  • fabulous innovation! Love the way people navigate themselves around social and cultural barriers.

    I wonder what are the West's social and cultural barriers? Do we navigate around them or do we continually bump our head against them – and then wonder, why are'nt we reaching ppl?

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