“If we close your social media account, will you still be relevant?”
“Facebook preaching is not real ministry. Anybody can come online and start writing nonsense or streaming jargons! You don’t need anyone teaching you on Facebook, it is not real ministry. You don’t need to listen to any podcast or sign up on an online minister’s website.”
Bla Bla Bla…
Are you criticizing online ministry simply because you don’t like the minister? Are online ministers speaking jargon simply because they communicated it online? What makes it ministry-less? Because they did not pay for halls, rent chairs or built Church buildings that took you time and sacrifices to build? Are you truly speaking or is it your dislike speaking?
What you may not know is that some of these online ministers also have thriving off-site ministry works. But let’s keep that aside.
Before you criticize a thing, sit back and ask yourself, “where is the world heading to, what is the world evolving to? Will I be guilty of the same thing I criticized in the past years or months?” Some people understand the time, they enter the future even before it occurs to you that you are dwelling in the past.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman “a time is coming and has already come when you will no longer need to worship at this mountain or at Jerusalem when those who worship God will worship him in Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24
Jesus dissolved the mentality that God is fixed to a place. In Christianity, God lives in us by the Holy Spirit. I remember towards the advent of social media in Nigeria, many preachers criticized Facebook, 2go, Blackberry messenger and so on. We heard things like “leave Facebook and face your book, 2go is another way to go to hell, BB pin will pin your destiny.”
These preachers had sincere intentions but sincerity doesn’t make ignorance become wisdom, it can only make it look attractive but time will test it, shake it and uproot it. Those preachers who asked us not to watch tv are now on TV! Mike Bamiloye understood the times, he knew we can’t ask them to leave TV, we can meet them in that entertainment world with the message.
Archbishop Benson Idahosa understood that we can get this message to them via television! Pastor Chris Oyakhilome understood that we can’t just get on TV, we can have our own stations and give this message priority! There were so many other believers all over the world who understood the time and took advantage of it! Some weren’t necessarily Pastors, they were in the secular field winning souls in their own way!
Those who criticized social media are busy on social media today, they are busy discussing Buhari, Trump and Coronavirus. They aren’t even teaching the word of God or reaching the unsaved in the digital space, they are there just to pass away time and join in trending discussions! Yet, these were men who criticized the social media, men who said that the moment you upload your picture, you become initiated into the marine kingdom of darkness.
That wave came and go, another wave came! It is the wave of ministers who undermined the impact of online ministry. They agree we can be on the social media and TV networks but they didn’t agree we can take the online ministry as serious as physical location-based ministries. They criticize men who are busy on Facebook teaching the word, they criticize those who are running an exclusive online ministry and some of them are scared to some sort because they have members who are online but they feel these members are being stolen from them.
I understand their bias but the truth is, they are ignorant of time! With the wave of Coronavirus across countries, physical gatherings are closing down, many fellowships are moving online, many businesses are going remote and those who never had provisions for this are losing out entirely!
Someone once asked, “if your online platforms are taken away from you, will you still be relevant?” But I think the table turns because today it seems to be “if your church building is sealed up and you are quarantined, will you still find relevance?”
Paul was constantly writing from prison, Paul wasn’t limited in ministry because he knew that souls must be reached anyhow! I admit, Pastoring people face to face has tremendous benefits and upper hand but it doesn’t rule out the benefits of also pastoring people online. Churches who have been online aren’t finding it so strange to adapt to the changes in the world, it isn’t a new thing to them!
However, those who never took online ministry serious may not do ministry for some time and those times are enough to lose impact because the believers who are at home will quickly search on Google or Facebook to catch up with a live stream, an article, a Christian blog, a podcast and so on!
Because you are successful in a norm doesn’t make the alternative irrelevant. Don’t hold unto the current normal so religiously because time will prove you very wrong! Be flexible, be ready to adapt!
The Jews used to have only the temple of Jerusalem but time and circumstances made them see synagogues as an alternative! Jesus broke it into pieces and today believers can gather anywhere! He said, “when two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst!” This gathering can be online, it can be anywhere.
In Australia presently, a gathering of more than five people is illegal! This is in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus. Those who saw the future before it came were ready for it but like Noah, many see them as stupid.
Pastor Cosfiney of House on the Rock, Asaba will always tell us in services “we won’t keep running Church meetings this way. A time will come, it may be farther or nearer, but a time will come when most services will move online. We may not like it but we’ve got no choice, we have to follow the developments.”
The law was once on a stone, it was then on a scroll and as the need arose, it was on papers and today we have the Bible even in our small phones! Some people are still criticizing the usage of phones for Bible when the worse is coming! How prepared are you for this season? How prepared are you for the place the world is heading to? If you don’t advance, you can’t be fit to reach advanced people.
If you begin now, you may have been a bit late but it’s better than not starting at all! Take your online ministry and business serious because whether you like it or not, time will always prove today’s normal wrong and prove today’s wrong right! Do you think online ministry is wrong? Think again!
Look into the future, get ready for it and you won’t be shocked when it comes.