An effective digital discipleship strategy ensures that your church reaches more people.
One of the very reasons the church exists is to disciple believers. In fact, discipleship is impossible without Christian community.
And with the widespread use of technology (not to mention the supercomputer in every pocket), a door has opened for discipleship to become easier to conduct and accessible to more people than ever before.
TYPICAL DISCIPLESHIP VS. DIGITAL DISCIPLESHIP
Where most of us were discipled in-person, or have discipled others face-to-face, a new world of opportunity has opened with the prevalence of digital communication.
Instead of scrambling to find child care or beat traffic, people can gather at almost any time and any place through digital means. For example, if you are discipling three individuals who live on different ends of town, working three different shifts, with three different lifestyles, the overlap of open in-person times will be almost non-existent.
Now, take those same three people and ask them to fill out a WhenIsGood for meeting via Zoom or Google Meet and I can almost guarantee there will be more overlaps. Let’s face it, if people can meet in their pajamas with their kids in the other room, they’re far more likely to agree to those gatherings.
Ten years ago, those individuals might have missed out entirely on a chance to be discipled, and their growth and impact as a follower of Christ would have been stunted. Thank goodness for technology.
If you want to reach more individuals for the Kingdom and make discipleship more accessible, digital is the way to go.
Still on the fence about the reasons churches need a digital discipleship plan? Here are four ways a digital discipleship strategy helps churches fulfill their mission and reach more people for Christ.
4 Reasons Every Church Needs an Effective Digital Discipleship Strategy
1. Jesus Commanded the Church to Make Disciples
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus testifies about his mission in the world and he asks men, women, and children to join him. It’s obvious in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20), but it’s also evident throughout his public ministry. He speaks in parables, but his objective is clear:
When Jesus said they would be his “witnesses in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” the early church understood what he meant (Acts 1:8). As a result of their efforts, the gospel of Christ spread throughout the world.
Paul, who was discipled by Ananias, aimed to strengthen the body of Christ “until we all reach unity in the faith and in knowledge of the Son of God and grow mature, attaining to the entire measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:12–13 NIV). Of course, the beginning of this verse should not be our sole focus because discipleship does not cease when a person becomes a Christian. Discipleship is also crucial in maturing fellow Christians in their faith, which is a lifelong journey.
2. Digital Devices are a Part of Everyday Life
People are more reliant on smartphones and other digital devices than ever before, according to the numbers.
A 2019 Pew Research survey, conducted in the United States, reports:
- 96% of adults own a cell phone, and of those, 81% are smartphones
- Nearly 75% of adults have a computer
- Around 50% of adults have a tablet or e-reader
As you know, we can do almost anything on our cell phones. People are routinely doing things like:
- Consuming entertainment like streaming video, music, and games
- Connecting with others via social media and messaging apps
- Searching for answers to questions
- Shopping and managing finances
Although developing a digital discipleship strategy for your church may seem revolutionary, it’s not. It will be natural to your attendees and members because of the activities they’re already engaged in on their phones.
Read this before you create your church app: 6 Smart Church Apps to Investigate Before Creating Your Own
3. To Make Disciples, Go to The People
Having a digital discipleship strategy is the 21st century version of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:22:
Mobile technology is a modern, impactful inroad that teaches people about Jesus.
The majority of people do not leave their homes without their cell phones. For many people, their smartphone is the first thing they see in the morning and the final thing they see before going to bed.
It’s considered a major disruptor, which means it has drastically altered people’s behavior. Although mobile technology can, understandably, get a bad rap,, we can’t overlook the countless benefits of having access to anyone at any time.
Mobile technology has transformed the way we interact, bank, store and listen to music and books, queue, and so much more. We’d be fools not to take advantage of this tool to spread the gospel and disciple our communities. The fields are white in preparation for harvest (John 4:35).One of the reasons the church exists is to disciple believers and with the widespread use of technology, a door has opened for discipleship to become easier to conduct and be accessible to more people. Click To Tweet
4. A Digital Discipleship Strategy Means Supplying People With Valuable Resources
There has never been a time when sharing assets has been easier. I bet you have an app for YouVersion, RightNow Media, and maybe even PrayerMate in your pocket right now. And most of us have Google Drive on our devices, too, which means access to shared documents and resources.
Along the same lines, when your church leaders design a digital discipleship plan, they’ll find it incredibly empowering for their students or disciples to have access to the valuable assets being shared, like:
- Theology and apologetics resources
- Evangelism instruction
- Bible study assets
- And countless more!
The idea is to break through the noise of the world and give them Biblical, transformative content to easily access as they undergo discipleship training.
THE REASON FOR DIGITAL DISCIPLESHIP IS JESUS
Fulfilling the Great Commission has looked different in every era and in every season. As believers have adapted in their method of sharing the good news, whether it’s been prompted by Gutenberg or Google, the message has never changed.
If you haven’t already, this is as good a moment as any for churches to embrace technology for the purpose of reaching more and more individuals with the good news of Jesus.