The concept of digital evangelism is probably difficult for most to fathom. How can we meet new contacts and build relationships purely through online communication? Cru’s outreach efforts took a creative turn to explore this possibility as face-to-face interactions and opportunities to meet new contacts decreased drastically as Covid-19 ran its course globally.
It started with the question: how can campus students continue cross-cultural missions with the ceasing of international travel? Leong Wai Ling, Campus Ministry Strategy Head, said, “When I knew sometime in January that we could not bring students on mission trips, I was a little disappointed. I prayed about it and remembered an idea an international Campus staff shared with me about digital outreach within the local community. This sounded interesting, but I wanted to have a cross-cultural element to it.”
With this in mind, she approached Lillian Seow, Head of Digital Strategies, and Rome Chew, Head of Missions, to see if there was a practical way to put this idea into action. Working collaboratively, Lillian, together with Joy and Jennie* from the Missions team, explored making digital missions a reality. Thus, REDproject (Reaching Everyone Digitally) was conceived. Since the initiative’s start, 17 teams with 130 digital missionaries have reached out to East and West Asia, Thailand, Mongolia, Japan and Myanmar with more than 85,000 exposures.
*names have been changed for confidentiality
REDproject pilot trip team
Based on their learnings and experience, a guide for digital missions was developed by the pilot team. “After the pilot REDproject trip, I worked with Joy and Jennie on the REDproject guide that has been shared with our global Cru ministries as well as other churches and missions organisations,” said Lillian.
Cross-cultural outreach from home
Joy and Jennie from the REDproject team shared: “A REDproject trip is a cross-cultural and cross-border mission trip done digitally. A mission team can choose to meet online or together in small groups, in line with Covid-19 restrictions. All you need for a REDproject trip is a smartphone or laptop and a stable internet connection.”
The team experimented with possible platforms to reach out to new contacts and found that language learning applications and Facebook were effective channels for reaching out. They also harnessed the potential of targeted advertisements on Facebook which allows Cru’s content to reach specific countries and age groups, hence opening opportunities for engagement. After the pilot run, the team realised that many overseas university students they were reaching had interest in learning English. Language learning apps were then used to connect with students who were interested in conversing in English.
Mission trippers from Hebron Bible-Presbyterian Church
Expanding the scope for outreach
Using these platforms have opened new doors for evangelism, even widening the scope for ministry. Jennie elaborated, “Previously, we needed to travel hours to do village outreach. Now, we can still reach out, albeit in a different manner, without the long hours of travel. You can actually have a greater reach within the same amount of time!”
Building deep connections
Beyond achieving breadth of outreach, the team also experienced meaningful conversations that build depth of connection. “I made a few new Thai friends during our pilot mission trip to Thailand. I had the opportunity to have spiritual conversations and share the gospel with some of them, and one of them opened up about how her mother had passed on some three months ago. I had the chance to be a listening ear and friend to her. She told me that I am like an older sister to her. I hope that I am able to demonstrate Jesus’ love and her heart will be opened to God slowly,” shared Joy.
Students embarking on Beyond Borders digital mission trips, the digital missions initiative for Campus students
REDproject is highly versatile and is open to anyone who has a heart for missions and is willing to take time to go on a digital missions trip. Rally a few friends and form a team, or indicate your interest as an individual. The REDproject team can be contacted at email@example.com , or find out more information on REDproject can be found here!
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