Social media has changed forever with the rise of TikTok, which is now officially the most opened and watched app in the social media ecosystem. It has become so successful that Meta, YouTube, and Twitter have altered the way they function in order to maintain their footing-and that’s a good thing for the gospel.
First, a bit of my experience as an evangelist on TikTok. When I jumped on in July 2021, I was skeptical—seeing the constant money grab and little return on investment on other social platforms over the years.
Immediately, however, I began to see results, real impact, and a loyal following of brand new believers hungry to devour God’s Word. As I write this, I’ve had over 50 million views, nearly 400,000 followers, nearly 4 million likes and most importantly, over 140,000 indications for a decision for Christ! Certainly, not all of these decisions are real or first time decisions, but even if that number is a sliver of the total, this has changed gospel communication for me forever!
Here are five things I’ve learned that can be applied to many, if not all, algorithm-based platforms for your ministry.
The Algorithm only cares about one thing. Watch time that converts to followers. With the data I get from TikTok, I can objectively see when viewers scroll away, how many watch to the end, and with clear calls to action, I can see exactly how many are responding to the gospel in the comment section. Clear metrics are good for me but they are also really all the algorithm cares about, except, of course, obeying the terms of service (so don’t get banned for violations!).
Because I have a clear call to repentance and ask viewers to indicate their decision for Christ, I get comments like this every day, “I prayed the prayer and am shaking. I’ve never felt anything like this. I’m crying my eyes out.”
The Algorithm wants consistency in messaging and content: I post 3-5 short videos a day, on a variety of things—mostly basic doctrines of sin, judgment, righteousness and addressing common struggles like pornography, anxiety, fears, family pressures and the like. The algorithm can depend on my account to provide fresh, engaging content on a specific niche (Christianity) and, in turn, it pushes my content to the ‘For You Page,’ or FYP.
Normally, over 80% of the views on my posts are not coming specifically from my followers but from views on people’s curated FYP’s. Here’s a recent comment: “You popped up on my FYP and now I’m following you everyday. You’ve changed my life and I’ve grown so much!”
I have a very consistent following base I can push private content to and go deeper in discipleship with because I provide something unique in their lives—biblical teaching with an evangelistic edge. One follower recently wrote these words, “Before I found your account, I didn’t know anything about God. Now I am a Christian and am getting baptized!”
I wake up to comments like this literally EVERY SINGLE DAY and the main reason is I provide distinct value in the form of constant teaching. Out of the 280,000 followers, I estimate 8,000 users are engaging my content every day throughout the day.
4. Residual Returns
I’ve spent nearly 30 years traveling the world preaching Christ. Countless hours hoping when I got to the destination, there would be people to preach to, that there would be fruit. I’ll never give that up but there has not been a single day where I’ve not seen decisions for Christ on TikTok.