Last month, we ran a series of blog posts by Joab Meyer about social media in China. He gave a helpful overview of the various platforms and tried to show how they (particularly WeChat) are useful for engaging with Chinese friends and building online communities.
Later in the month, the mainland site Christian Times published an article about how to use WeChat for the purposes of evangelism. The article is a report of a talk given by a pastor in Beijing. It is translated in full below. Please note that the terms Weixin and WeChat are interchangeable. Weixin is the official Chinese name of the app. WeChat is the English name.
A Beijing Pastor on How Best to Use WeChat for Evangelism
With the growing popularity of social media on the Internet, pastors are increasingly thinking and talking about how to use this platform for evangelism.
On February 7, Pastor Dai, of a gospel ministry in Beijing shared some of his thoughts on how to use private and public accounts on the Weixin social media platform for evangelism.
A staff member from Christian Times had the opportunity to listen to the pastor's talk, and shares the highlights here in this article.
Pastor Dai said "Weixin is becoming more and more popular so we need to think about how to use it for evangelism."
Below are some specific suggestions on how to use Weixin for evangelism.
You can use the "find a person nearby" function on Weixin to add new people to your contact list. Add one person per day, a new person per month; or a new person every three months. This will end up being quite a few people. They are the persons whom you can share with. The benefit of adding nearby users as friends is that once they show interest in the gospel, you can invite them to church to learn more.
You can also subscribe to at least ten gospel-related accounts, which can then be used as evangelism resources.
Then, select one of these gospel resources to share with your "circle of friends;" in this way they can hear the gospel message.
You can post information about your church's Sunday worship and other ministry activities. Send them to your circle of friends ahead of time, and those who are interested can participate.
You can use the "short video" function to send video clips of church activities to your circles of friends.
If, among your circle of friends, there are those who desire to hear more about the gospel, then you can initiate a "group chat" to invite them to learn more.
One brother remarked, "this is an excellent tool for evangelism; wherever you are, you can easily share the gospel with those around you, including your family members."
This brother is a migrant worker in Beijing who works the night shift at a hotel. Even though his work is hard, it has not weakened his passion for evangelism. .
He commented, "Just yesterday I opened my Weixin and found out about this talk on how to use Weixin for evangelism; I came right over."
"I came here to learn about how to use this technology platform to share the gospel with my family and others around me. It is very convenient."
He added, "Very few people in my home town have heard the gospel message; there is little opportunity for them. However, using Weixin I have the opportunity to help them hear about the gospel."
"Now many people in my hometown have smart phones; we need now to teach them how to use Weixin."
Regarding the establishment and use of a Weixin platform, Pastor Dai said that it is important to prepare well.
It's especially good to use Weixin, Weibo, and other public social network platforms to follow other pastors, preachers, and other groups. You can also use a public account to promote and share these.
In addition, it's important to select a high-profile platform to promote gospel material. If people are interested, then more and more people will follow your platform.
Then, since those people have their own circle of contacts and social networks, they will share the resources and materials with their friends, thereby increasing your reach by ten or even a hundred fold.
When a public account has reached a certain number of followers, then you can temporarily cease posting.
That's a good time to post information about the church and ministries of the church, while not forgetting to share the gospel at the same time.
Finally, Pastor Dai said, "it's good to spend time researching and slowly mastering this method of evangelism and finding ways of using this model; however it is more important to see how God is working and using it."
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