How should Christians use digital tools to advance the kingdom of God? Can believers share Jesus in online spaces and on social media while remaining true to the gospel? On May 31, 2023, ChinaSource attempted to answer these questions in a webinar entitled, “WeChatting to the Glory of God.” Four veterans of online evangelism briefly discussed their experiences and methods. That webinar then grew into the upcoming issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, “Digital Engagement.” To give you a preview of what’s to come, we’re publishing the editorial of guest editors Andrew Feng and Nick Wu.
The Need for Innovation and Digital Transformation
by Andrew Feng and Nick Wu
This year, 2023, over five billion people are using the internet and have access to mobile devices. In the last decade, internet users have more than doubled, with the most users located in eastern and southern Asia.1 The rapid growth of users online and on mobile devices signifies an increasingly digital world which includes access for people groups who have not yet heard the gospel. As the reach of the internet expands among unreached people groups, the opportunity for digital evangelism and discipleship also grows. Where physical access may be limited, digital spaces open a door for the whole church to rethink how they might spend their time online to be part of global missions.
The autumn 2023 ChinaSource Quarterly invites leaders to share various digital strategies being used to engage the church body in action, reaching Chinese people online, and digital evangelism and discipleship. The authors of the lead article, both from Indigitous, share the need for innovation and digital transformation for the 99 percent not in professional ministry to find their place in the Great Commission. Through innovation and using their digital, creative, and marketplace skills, the whole church body can be activated and engaged in digital missions.
Sean Cheng writes about using new media for digital evangelism and reaching Chinese people online. His article details several digital strategies used in China over the last few decades and the state of current platforms and their challenges.
Luke Cheng, of Far East Broadcasting Company, shares how their radio ministry initiated a Bible college through the airwaves in China over 40 years ago. Through decades of growth and the development of new media, their radio Bible college has expanded online, including training courses and content through a mobile app.
Tsun-En Lu, from Ambassadors for Christ, provides accounts of scholars from China studying in the US and coming to know Christ. Leaders in the church from this new generation are finding the need to be mobile as they discern whether to stay in the US or return to China. As a result, digital strategies have allowed continued ministry despite physical barriers and distance.
Travis Todd takes us through his journey serving on Cru’s digital strategies team. He recounts the growth of online discipleship and evangelism for the modern landscape of China including reaching over 30 million views through their free online content. Their approach is to fail often, even if it means getting into trouble, to get the gospel to more people.
The book review for this issue features Sharing Jesus Online: Helping Everyday Believers Become Digital and Metaverse Missionaries by John Harris and Jeff Reed. Harris and Reed focus on B.L.E.S.S. principles in digital and metaverse spaces, shedding light on the need for everyday missionaries in those environments.
This issue’s Resource Corner features the GodTools app, a resource with many tools for evangelism and starting gospel conversations. The app features a parallel language function which allows users to share the four spiritual laws in Chinese and other languages.
As Christians, staying updated on effective digital strategies is crucial to keeping pace in this digital age and engaging the whole church in new pathways. Digital engagement is making the gospel available and accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Christians now have the opportunity to contribute their digital skills to support and supplement the greatest needs of the Great Commission. I hope you find that this issue of CSQ helps to paint a better picture of various digital strategies as well as the online landscape for reaching the Chinese mission field.
Stay tuned for the rest of the newest issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, scheduled to be published next week. Click here to subscribe and get it delivered straight to your email inbox.
- Simon Kemp, “Digital 2023: Global Overview Report,” DataReportal, January 26, 2023, accessed August 15, 2023, https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2023-global-overview-report.
Andrew Feng serves as the US Director for Indigitous which engages the next generation to use their marketplace skills beyond the four church walls. Andrew advises on global strategy related to faith and tech. He is exploring crowdsourcing missions via remote work. He aims to help young adults utilize their abilities to support the great commission. Andrew and …View Full Bio
Over the past few years, God has opened Nick’s heart for missions through dozens of opportunities including taking Perspectives, going on short term mission trips, and documenting and producing videos for missions. He is eager to see where God is leading him in his faith and missions, but he is …View Full Bio
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