COVID closes the door, technology opens the window
By Tshepang Basupi
In the New Testament, Paul wrote many letters to communicate his messages. He was leveraging the technology he had at the time to disseminate the message of Jesus Christ. In fact, during his time of incarceration, he became especially effective in using this method. He recognized that though he was literally chained, the gospel was not in any way chained. Hence, he was open and committed to proclaiming the gospel using what was available to him (2 Tim. 2:9).
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, many of us got a taste of what Paul must have felt under house arrest. Just as Paul utilized the available technology to continue his ministry, so we, having even more technology at our disposal, should utilize it.
Ministry during COVID
Technology is a gift from God that his church needs to embrace and maximize for the work of ministry. God’s plan to bring many more people into fellowship with Himself (Jn. 10:16) remains unchanged. It is still his plan to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). He desires that all men come to the knowledge of truth (1 Tim. 2:4). With doors closed to reaching other people due to the COVID-19 restrictions, technology has become the open window to engage the lost with the gospel.
Many gospel workers report having more opportunities to engage their neighbours through social media platforms such as WhatsApp. Many Muslim brothers and sisters who are nervous about COVID-19 are being reached by gospel workers and, through such interactions, the gospel is proclaimed. Other missionaries report more opportunities to engage with their lost neighbours than they had before COVID. A missionary in Madagascar recently wrote: “People are searching for a spiritual power that they can cling to, they are searching for God. There is a sense of spiritual hunger sweeping across my country. People feel so desperate that they are searching for something bigger. (1)
As people search for something bigger, missionaries have been able to leverage technology to engage many with the gospel. Many have come to know the love of God more deeply in this season as a result.
Jason Mandryk reports:
“In the UK, where weekly church attendance is well under 10%, it is being reported that 25% of adults have watched or listened to a religious service since CoVid-19 lockdowns. (2)
A network reaching out to Chinese people in Johannesburg has seen the COVID pandemic as an opportunity to engage others in new ways. They have embraced the WeChat and WhatsApp platforms to share the gospel. A Chinese missionary reaching the Chinese in South Africa said, “The ongoing outbreak is an opportunity to keep sharing the gospel as more people search for peace.”(3)
In this issue of AfriGO, you will read many examples of how technology has opened the window of missions when COVID shut the door. Even the process of mobilizing new workers into the mission field cannot be stopped by a virus, because technology has provided new ways to recruit, train and send. Apostle Vincent Anane Denteh in Ghana will show how the church is not a newcomer to adopting new technologies and Jean Seri will demonstrate how radio — one of the oldest pairings of technology and mission — is more vital than ever during COVID.
If this time of COVID has taught us anything, it is that we need to make the most of every opportunity God gives us (Eph. 5:16). Like the Sons of Issachar, we need to know the times (1 Chron. 12:32) and adapt our ministries and our strategies to align with these times. Technology is a great blessing and a gift that the church of Christ needs to leverage on and engage the lost. As we wait for medical breakthroughs to deal with COVID, let us harness technology to engage the lost with the Gospel of Christ.
Tshepang Basupi serves as a Southern Region Executive Officer for AIM Southern Region. He and his wife Queen and their two kids reside in Kenya. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.