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Mission Opportunities: Open Letter on Digital Media and the Great Commission

To mission executives, field leaders, missiologists, magazine editors, missionaries and outreach teams everywhere: a focus for Lausanne 2010

“Online evangelism is strategic and crucial for this new digital century. We commend Internet Evangelism Day’s resources to you.”    – Scott Moreau, editor Evangelical Missions Quarterly

We know that your ministry’s heart is to share the good news of Jesus Christ. May we draw your attention to the potential of new options that can enhance your mission’s objectives: the growing array of digital and internet evangelism opportunities.

Far-reaching Communication Changes

mobile phone Digital communication is transforming our world in ways that we are only beginning to discern. There are now over 3 billion mobile phone owners and 2 billion web users, the majority outside the West. Facebook has 500 million users in nearly 100 languages, making it (in terms of ‘population’) the third largest ‘country’ in the world.

The impact of the silicon chip is as dramatic and far-reaching as the invention of the printing press. This new ‘digital communication culture’ is superseding the West’s ‘print communication culture’. And remarkably, it has much more in common with the ‘oral communication cultures’ that many of us are so familiar with. Its strengths include two-way interaction and relationship building, visual storying rather than left-brain abstract analytic thinking, and the ability to offer information and help anonymously.

Digital communication has transformed the mission world too. Most mission staff are in instant digital contact with other team members, HQ, home church, and family. Mission support and recruitment is leveraged through websites. Research that only a few years back might have taken weeks, is now achieved online in seconds.

Digital Evangelism: Untapped Missions Tools

However, many cross-cultural missions have not yet really started to use digital media for their raison d’etre – sharing the good news. There may be various reasons for this: internet cafe

Some Solutions for You to Consider

Internet Evangelism Day and the Guide Network partnership exist to promote awareness of the many opportunities for digital evangelism that exist, especially in cross-cultural situations outside the West. This is a focus of Lausanne 2010, and the Lausanne World Pulse email newsletter has covered the growing opportunities for digital evangelism (see 6-7/2010, 2/2009): lausanneworldpulse.com/archives.php
EMQ and IJFM also cover these issues.

We believe that the Web and digital media are God-given tools that are especially significant for relatively unreached countries and people groups for these reasons:

How Can We Help?

We know that digital media are already playing a huge role in fulfilling the Great Commission and concur with George Verwer’s statement:
george verwer “The Internet is one of the most key tools that God has given us in the church today. Internet Evangelism is a dynamic, effective, cutting-edge ministry that more people should get involved in!” – George Verwer, founder Operation Mobilization
Internet Evangelism Day is a year-round resource guide (and annual focus day) about the many ways of using the digital media: InternetEvangelismDay.com

The Guide Network is an informal grouping of ministries (including Lausanne) to equip and enhance digital ministry online and by mobile phone, especially in the non-western world. Within the network are a number of informal smaller networks for digital evangelism in specific countries and regions. Their strategic significance is to draw together digital outreach teams, radio and BCC ministries, mission staff on the ground, and local church groupings, leading to vital synergy and the ability to link online inquirers with real believers at local level. Digital media are often at their most effective when integrated in this way: IEDay.net/guide

We also work closely with Visual Story Network, who focus on using visual digital media for evangelism: VisualStoryNetwork.org

Distance-learning modules are being planned by Biola University, to equip mission staff for digital ministry, and there are other online training resources: IEDay.net/training

We can provide speakers for mission staff conferences, team discussions or colleges, and are freely available for consultation in these areas: IEDay.net/speaker

We would be honored to assist your vital ministry in any way we can. Please contact us at (or use our contact form) to discuss any aspect of digital evangelism. Please tell us also of any digital initiatives you plan or are involved in.

Yours in His Service,

Tony Whittaker | Coordinator, Internet Evangelism Day | Shortcut URL: IEDay.net/mission

Shortcut URL for this page to recommend verbally or in print: IEDay.net/mission
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