Unpacking research conducted by Barna Group, McCrindle Research and Alpha Australia about the opportunity and impact of digital evangelism
As we dwell on the birth of Jesus in the lead up to Christmas, we are reminded how God shows up in the unexpected. Although the world had eagerly awaited the Messiah, no one expected Him to come as a baby, born to a virgin in a stable. In some ways, 2020 has reflected this story, many people anticipated the Spirit of God to show up in their lives, or the lives of their loved ones. Well, who would have thought it would happen over Zoom!
Digital evangelism has quickly become the church’s new mission field, a new form of evangelism filled with opportunity. In 2020, the world saw an essential shift in churches moving to digital and hybrid ministry. A recent study by Barnahas found that over 52% of church goers reported that posting online is a very important way they share their faith with others. Barna also found that and that 41% of non-Christians would be open to participate in a spiritual conversation about Christianity if the experience felt friendly. The opportunity in this space is undeniable.
During the experience of COVID-19, almost one in two Australians (47%) have thought about their mortality more, with a similar proportion (47%) thinking about the meaning of life more. McCrindle Research recently released a report about thefuture of the Australian Church,where they found that Australians are not just ‘open’ to spirituality, they are spiritually hungry. They stated that ‘Like the future of the office and events, there is broad recognition that churches of the future will be hybrid, combining a physical gathering with digital platforms to engage as many people as possible.’
Alpha Australia continues to see churches that engage with digital evangelism connect with a broader range of people from their communities. Melinda Dwight, National Director of Alpha Australia noted that, “I was talking to someone recently who came to faith through Alpha Online and he said ‘I could never have gone to a church. If I had had people around me, it would have felt like you were making me do something.’ But I just said, ‘come Holy Spirit’ and He did.”
2020 has shown itself not to be a moment for the church to retreat, but instead a significant season for God to work in a new way, a moment where the Holy Spirit has been able to impact people who otherwise may not have ever stepped into a church.
As the church finds new ways to reach their community with the message of the Gospel, Alpha Australia is finding new ways to best equip and serve them in their mission. Let's together make Jesus’ final command our first priority.