Tools for Evangelism
God, it’s your Church
God, it's your church
As a Church planter, I know the importance of communication. There is a saying you may have heard: “If you do not speak, no one will hear you.” In our efforts to evangelize and communicate the love of God to the world, we have powerful tools at our disposal which we can, and must use. If we do not talk, and if we do not communicate, no one will hear us.
I’d like to sharean illustration about ants. When one ant goes and finds sugar, she returns and gives the good news to the others and then all can go to eat the sugar. But if the ant does not return to tell them the good news of the sugar, then they will not get to eat it. Our communication is to share the good news of how God has blessed us. We can share our blessings, our miracles, and our testimonies so that others know that God can also act in their lives. When we share the gospel, we are taking sugar to a hungry person.
Communicating to spread the good news
The first tool I started using was Meetups. Meetup.com is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings all around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by common interests like politics, books, games, hobbies, or in my case, the pursuit of spirituality. I started organizing “meetups” where people could talk about spirituality in Spanish. Although the experience was wonderful, I stopped arranging these meetups when I realized that I was not going to start a church this way. My main purpose was to get people to come to my new church.
Once my purpose was clearly defined, I decided to organize church events. As I have many friends in Seattle, I invited everyone to my events like the Day of the Dead, the Posadas, and to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe. As people came to these events,I told them that I was going to start a church and extended an invitation to join me. Thus began Our Lady of Guadalupe.
For the people in my church, Facebook has worked well for us. A couple of months ago we used Facebook Live to share our Day of the Dead event. Many people joined us to see the altars, the band, the people, and the art of the event that is special to our community. One important thing to remember is to keep social media pages updated with the most current information (time of service, address, how to contact, name of the leader, and parking etc.) so that people can easily access the information they need.
Another tool I recommend is Mail Chimp. I use MailChimp to send a weekly email filled with photos, information, and upcoming events to my contacts that I know personally.
Something to share
All these communication tools will not help if you have nothing to share. Remember that they are a complement, but not the answer. You cannot give what you do not have. So focus on sharing what you have in abundance. Think about what experiences you are going to share with people who connect with you on the internet or via email to encourage them and help them grow. If the message is not going to be constructive, positive, or uplifting, then do not post it.
Communicating through social media has one big advantage – you can reach many people at the same time. In Jesus' time, he traveled to many places and never stayed in one location for too long. Now through social media, we can share with any part of the world quickly and effectively.
Unity and brotherhood
The theology we believe and profess in Our Lady of Guadalupe is based on unity. The dream that Jesus has for us is that we are one. How can we make this dream possible? In our bilingual context we ask ourselves: how can we pray together in two languages and understand our cultures? The good news is that Anglo and Latino people who speak English and Spanish can be united. And the more people know and share this good news, the more people can be inspired and have hope that they can also have a bilingual ministry.
Although digital media is very important, especially to share the good news with the world, we need that face-to-face andone-on-one communication as well. Let's go out and talk to people. The idea is to scatter the seed, to inspire people, and to know that God will tend to the growing. Pray with me, "God, teach me your ways. It's your church, not mine. "
Alfredo Feregrino was born in Mexico city and has lived in Seattle since 1992 with his wife and twins. He has been ordained since 2013. He sees himself as a facilitator for unity and has the gift to unite people from different places and origins. He affirms that radical hospitality and inclusion are his greatest theological connections in his ministry and vocation. He believes that God’s love is unconditional, abundant, and does not discriminate and Alfredo transmits that in his daily life. He planted Our Lady of Guadalupe in Seattle, a bilingual, multicultural congregation in a contemporary urban setting. He will start a new “satellite church” in Renton, Washington this month.
- The Ministry of Communications by Richielle Thompson, ECF Vital Practices blog post
- Media, Art and Community by Eric Law, Vestry Papers, November 2010
- Sharing our Church Through Stories by Barbara Dundon, Vestry Papers, November 2010
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