Social media, new way to spread the gospel
Once upon a time, evangelism meant going into the highways and the byways, sometimes by foot, to spread the Word of God.
Today, more people are resorting to a less hectic way of witnessing to others of God's goodness. Scriptures and testimonies can now be seen making the rounds on social media, as Christian young people have been using the sites as platforms for ministry.
Needless to say, many older folks have turned up their noses at the method, describing it as the 'watering down of the gospel'.
Shanika Sutton says her ministry is using purely social media. "The traditional way of ministry is to stay in the churches and invite the unsaved to come, but, with the recent technological developments, another platform - social media - has been created for the ministers of Christ to take advantage of."
She said social media ministry is an actual platform to reach the world, whether through WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram or Periscope. However, many Christians are sceptical of this new way of ministering and have harshly criticised it.
According to Sutton, there is a strong view that the method is a lazy way of ministering, that the ministers may only be doing it for reviews and self-gratification, and that the physical church should remain the only means of evangelism.
"The truth is that social media ministry is far-reaching, because it enhances the spreading of the good news all over the world! Through this channel, many persons are exposed to the power of God," Sutton asserted.
"I have a Facebook. I reach people by the Spirit of God both locally and abroad. I remember once a lady from the United Kingdom found my Facebook page and told me about her daughter who needed prayer. She gave me her contact and I messaged her daughter. The Lord revealed to me that the daughter was cutting herself, which she said no one knew about, not even her mother!
"God also showed me her slipping academic grades and her constant feeling of loneliness. After the conversation, she had no doubt God was speaking and that He cared about the pain she felt," related Sutton, adding that the young woman expressed how encouraging the conversation was and her desire to know more about God.
Sutton also told Family & Religion of a friend who had called her one morning threatening to kill herself. She immediately messaged a prophet, whom she had met in a WhatsApp group, and requested intercessory prayer for the emotionally disturbed friend.
"When he finally got through to her, he ministered to her by the Spirit of God. He prophesied to her while God revealed her life to him. She was encouraged to go on and no longer felt the need to end her life. She received a direct word from God through His servant. This was all done through social media!" Sutton exclaimed.
The minister explained that social media is more than individuals showing off their knowledge and seeking popularity.
"Many ministers of God are using it for His glory, and many persons are being delivered, healed, empowered and encouraged. Besides, God doesn't limit His ministry to one method. He expects us to reach the lost at any cost," declared Sutton. "Everyone uses social media: the depressed, the suicidal, the misunderstood, the rejected. Indeed, it is a platform to reach many lost souls! Just a word from the Lord can save someone's life," stated Sutton.