“ And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come ”

- Matthew 24:14

Introduction: In February 4 2020, Barna scientific research group carried out a research on Pastors’ Current Concerns for the Christian Church. There are lists of 22 concerns that were chronologically listed. At the top of the list was Pastors’ concerns on the watered down gospel teaching. At the very bottom on the list, that is, the last concern on pastors’ mind were advancing digital technology. Such as Social Media. Who would have guessed that in 3 weeks later, the entire church would have to close its door? And suddenly, the thing that was last concern on Pastors’ mind, would become first on their mind. Covid-19 has demonstrated to us the importance of having Social Media for ministry. I have believed that God had wanted to use Social Technology to advance His Kingdom. But we have been so stuck to the traditional ways of ministry.  
  1. 1. What is a Church?
The definition of a church is not a place we go or the things we do. If we look critically to the time of the Pandemic, you will see that the traditional definition of the church has been completely turned down. During the Pandemic, we have so many beautiful edifices, spaces, and buildings that were empty. The question is, if church is a building, spaces and edifices, then, the emergence of the Pandemic would swallowed her up. Approximately 2.38 billion people practice some form of Christianity globally. This means that about one-third of the world’s total population is Christian. In 2019, Nigeria had about 17,300 churches   Christians are 9% of the total population of the United Arab Emirates, according to a ministry report. The number of Christians in the United Arab Emirates is estimated at about 500 thousand. Catholics constitute the majority of Christians who come up to 100 thousand. There are over 20 registered churches in Dubai. Out of these 20 churches, about 9 of them are Catholics church. According to Gallup, prior to Covid-19 only 40% attend church service. Prior to Covid, about 300,000 people searched Google every month for “Church Online” or “Internet Church” After Covid, millions of people are searching for the phrase “Church Online” or “Internet Church” During and after Covid, people now find the ability to watch what was happening in the building The Question is, when did the church become a program to watch?   “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19 The success definition of a church is now getting the fish in a bowl. It is the number of fish we could manage to get in a bowl. Getting a fish in a bowl has come to replace going out to fish. Today, 2 out of 3 churches in the world have been declining in attendance! For some churches who have been experiencing exponential growth, it is because of demise of other churches. This is not because of evangelism or follow-up, it is because people are jumping from one fish pond/bowl to another. Most churches in Nigeria now look so scanty and it is because they  are not really interested in Digital Discipleship. They use Facebook to get people into their church buildings.  That is their goals for the Social Media. The question is, Did Jesus called us to gather people into the building, or to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations?
  1. 2. Are Online followers equal effective digital discipleship or Ministry Impact?
Many church are focus on building online followers than engaging into digital discipleship. Churches are more focused on establishing their own credibility than the Kingdom of God. When did success in ministry becomes building a troop of followers more than building the kingdom? Why do we track the number of people who like our post, but not how many people who choose Jesus because of those posts? The question is, what do we do next, if somebody choose Jesus because of our post? Do we have a system in place to take people of being a follower of us to being a follower of Christ? Facebook has people represented in all the continents of the world. The work of a digital minister in the context of today ministry is revolutionary in nature. A revolution is a radical change in a way of thinking about or doing something: a change of paradigm. We are not intereted in helping people build platforms but building Kingdom. There are people following us on our social media platforms. They are following us because they want to be connected with us. Our target is not to bring them into a Church program for 2-4 hours. Church is not a proram staged for 2-6 hours on a weekend. Church is the way of life- 168 hours per week.! If Church only happens in a building, we are missing almost 80% of the people. For example, all the people who used the social media platform to bring people into the church bulding, what happened to their churches and their people during the Covid? “Therefore GO and make Disciples of all Nation, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.  –Matthew 28:19-20  HOW DO I MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS? The answer is to use the platforms that reach all nations! Research shows that 74% of people reporting membership in an institutional faith community finding its meaningful, but less than 2% of 200 million Facebook Groups are Faith-Based, and almost 0% are connected to a Church. Churches have the pages, but we don’t have the spaces to discple the people. Social media is about marketing. Social ministry is about discipleship! We need to move beyond sharing content about your ministry to making disciples through your ministry. Your Facebook page is your Front House. Where people see your Aesthetics. Your Facebook Live is like your Front Door. Where people gain access to your treasury. Your Facebook Group is like your Living – Room.  Where people are confortably searted and attended to. They get to know you and more importantly, they get to know eachother. Facebook Group has a feature we call, Learning Unit. This Learning unit helps you create a sequencial marginal groups and that is very good for discipleship.   FACEBOOK PAGE Facebook Page is your Online front Porch.
  • It helps you increase your reach
  • It allows your followers to know what your community is up to.
  • It keeps members interested and engaged with information, updates, events, notifications and lots more.
  • Think Mobile First- Before using any Photograph or Video on your page, be sure to use it on your mobile first and ensure it is clear enough.
  • Engage with your Followers- Respond to their messages, comment and questions timely.
  • Build Community-Link a Facebook group to the page and invite the followers to join and start the discussion.
FACEBOOK LIVE Facebook Live is your open door invitation.
  • Live helps you engage your audience.
  • Streaming events and gatherings from your Page allows viewers to watch from their phones, computers or connected TV
  • Interactive features of Live allows you to engage with your audience on your page or in your group.
  • Engage your audience- Share the stream in Page, Group and profiles you manage and encourage viewers to share the contents with their followers as well.
  • Build your Reach- Crosspost the same stream to multiple pages simultaneously.
  • Build Community- Schedule a watch party to enable your people to watch your video together.
  FACEBOOK GROUP Facebook Group is your Online Living Room. This is referred to as the Bread and Butter of Facebook- Nona Jones Broadcast Technology Vs Social Communication Broadcast Teachnology is a technology and take a message and broadcast it to the massess while Social technology is designed to facilitate communication between and among multiple people. The mistake the Church is making is that we post some contents and walk away. We do not facilitate social interrction, conversation, relationship and engagement.
  • Facebook Group is like a living room where we have intimate conversation and communication with others. This is actually the bedrock of Discipleship.
  • Facebook Group helps you deepen your conversation and engagement.
  • Groups allow you gather your community in a space where you can get to know them, they can get to know you and you can get to know each other.
  • Make people feel welcome- when you have new members in your groups, generate a “welcome post” to auto-tag them in a welcome message.
  • Connect members to each other – Invite members to share where they live, hobbies and other information that will make them get to know each other better.
  • Facilitate Conversation – You are the host of the group, therefore, regularly post conversation prompt as questions for people to answer and discuss.
  LEARNING UNITS Learning Unit is your Online Classroom
  • Learning units help you keep your community learning.
  • Units are like educational modules and are a great tools to help you organize and share content and resources.
  • Group members can mark their completion of each unit and this completion rate is tracked within your group insight.
This really helps in Digital Discipleship- the relational and sequencial teaching of my faith. UNITS TIPS AND TRICKS
  • Segment Sermons into Parts – Use units to help people review the messages sequentially and have conversation around theme.
  • Encourage People to Complete Them- Reach pout to people who did not complete the entire units to let them know you are proud of their progress so far.
  • Arrange Content around Theme- Created unit for local recommendation”, “recipes”, “resources”, “members”, “sportlight” and so on.
  Learnining Units allow people to learn and grow together and that is the Goal of Digital Discipleship. What Can I do in a Group when it Becomes my Online Campus?
  • Share sermons
  • Share Thoughts
  • Share Messages
  • Share Prayer Concern and Chain Outline. Eg “Pray for a friend Abby, she is thinking of taking her life”
  • Organize a get-together. This create an unforgettable virtual memories.
  • You can create different groups for different demography and class and link them together as a whole.
  • Make your self accessible to your people online.
  • You can link upto 250 Facebook Groups to your Facebook Page.
  • You can create pairing Mentor and Mentees paring groups.
If you create the pairing unit, people would be able to learn and grow together. That is the essence of discipleship.