The internet has revolutionized how people communicate. In many ways, the world has become a smaller place. People all over the globe-even those in countries with oppressive governments-have discovered ways to communicate with others around the world.
It’s been predicted that by the end of 2018, more than 66 percent of the world’s adults would have owned smartphones This growing access to the internet has dramatic implications for how news is discovered and spread.
The internet’s effect on evangelism
There are more than 3 billion people online (with more joining every day), and this is having a dramatic impact on worldwide evangelism. More and more, people are turning to online communities to have discussions about faith. Someone hoping to learn more about Christianity isn’t likely to visit a church until after they’ve done a lot of reading, watched videos, or talked to others online.
Thanks to smartphone apps like YouVersion and Bible Gateway, the Bible is more accessible than ever. One has to wonder if missionaries are even necessary anymore.
Reaching the unreached
As far-reaching as the internet is, it’s still failing to reach billions living in the developing world-including a staggering percentage of those living in the poorest nations in the world. These people still desperately need others to be willing to minister to them where they’re at.
These countries also need skilled Christians to meet their medical, educational, and social needs. And this is just a sampling of the kind of work that can’t be done online.
Opening up to the gospel
Thankfully, some countries are more open to the gospel now than they’ve been in decades. In one Eastern European showing of “Magdalena: Released From Shame,”a woman by the name of Roksana had a life-changing encounter with Jesus.
She didn’t remember breathing throughout the entire film. As Roksana put it, “I watched the story of Christ in the same breath.” After it was over, a staff member from Campus Crusade for Christ® invited her to a follow-up Bible study. The small group watched and discussed a 12-part series called “Rivka.”And with each episode, she learned more about what it meant to follow Jesus.
These kinds of personal breakthroughs require people invested and willing to travel the world and connect with those who need Jesus. As helpful as technology is, there’s no substitute for personal contact.
Churches worldwide need training
On top of the transformation that comes from person-to-person outreach, missionaries are still required to equip the worldwide church with the tools and training they need to advance the gospel.
Many pastors worldwide will never receive a seminary education or formal Bible training, and they desperately need training, tools, strategy, and vision to plant churches and have an impact on their nation for Christ. And while they can get some training online, nothing can make up for hands-on training and empowerment.
Yes, missionaries are still necessary
Jesus Film Project® has been using the film “JESUS” to communicate the gospel since 1979. Since then, it’s been translated in more than 1,750 languages, and is shown all over the world-with more than 570 million people indicating a decision to follow Jesus.
We believe in the impact of technology. In fact, we even have a mobile app that features more than 200 videos, miniseries, and short films in thousands of languages. This is a powerful tool for getting to know Jesus better and sharing Him with others in your small group, on campus or on a plane!
As long as there are people who need to hear the good news, missionaries will be needed. Technology has provided many helpful tools for reaching and engaging people, but human contact and relationship are still essential ingredients in transmitting the power of the gospel.