And engagement is not a one-way street, it’s an ongoing conversation that you need to start and nurture. The onus is on us to go, not for them to come, so we have to initiate and cultivate the conversations. We cannot think having a website is enough. Just like a church building is not enough, we need to reach out digitally and engage those around us. Smart mobile technology gives us a new instrument to meet and converse.
Remember the statistics about the growing mobile workforce? Fewer people are going to offices, and the trend is rapidly accelerating. Studies are showing remote employees are showing higher engagement levels than their in-office counterparts. With the press of demands for our time and attention, we need creative ways to carve out time, energy and opportunities to meet with people who are searching and want to grow spiritually.
While I frequently meet people for breakfast, iced tea/coffee and lunch, making time to personally engage with people is becoming more and more of a logistical and scheduling nightmare. Being able to virtually meet via a webcam never takes the place of face-to-face communication, but it can be a most valuable additional tool.
I’ve looked at many different tools all across the web, and have personally used several that are free or come with a monthly charge. While new tools are constantly being introduced, my favorite is from Zoom Video Communications. It provides a free, cloud-based, HD video meeting service that allows you to meet with up to 15 people at the same time. Zoom.us was created from the ground-up on a video meeting cloud that provides high-grade video, audio and screen sharing. It supports iPad, iPhone, Windows and Mac devices.
Here’s one way it can work. I use Zoom.us to conduct weekly Internet-based live Bible studies, and it can be very effective. I put together some simple slides to help guide the teaching and conversation. People from all over connect by simply clicking on a link posted on Facebook and participate without having to travel. Through a combination of video and screen sharing, the Bible is taught and applied to our lives followed by prayer requests.
I can hear it loud and clear. Before you start backpedaling by saying you are not a geek and not tech-savvy enough, this Bible study is not attended by a single computer nerd. All are non-technical people, most are home-bound and suffering from a variety of physical issues.
Another way to disciple is through recorded video venues. There is a lot of good content already available, and we thank God for that. But I would challenge you to sit in front of your webcam and tell your story. No one has walked your road, experienced God’s grace in the same way, have your birth record, your living hope.
Remember those Internet Bible Studies? I go back and record the video, weave in slides and post them on YouTube, making them available through smartphones, tables and TVs around the world. This gives participants and others the chance to replay the Bible study at their convenience. People also forward video links to their family and friends, sharing God’s word, becoming “digital tracts.”
Mobile smart devices are expanding at an epidemic pace. That is the potential extent of your voice for Jesus. You don’t need a street corner, microphone or large auditorium. You need to be called and energized by his Holy Spirit to bravely reach out and connect with a culture that increasingly does not know there is a great and loving God who cares so much for them as his children. He sent Jesus to intervene where we cannot, paying what is totally beyond us, reuniting us with God and renovating our life now and into all eternity.
Johannes Guttenberg, a German blacksmith created leading-edge movable type technology, for the first time allowing mass production of Bibles and information. It was also the genesis of our 21st-century, knowledge-based economies. He saw a need and was willing to do the unexpected, unusual and risked everything. So, pick up your smart mobile device and go “all in” to reach a lost and dying world.