USA (MNN) – “‘I searched radio in Alaska’ or ‘I searched church planting in Spain’ and ‘I found SEND International and I got engaged, and here I am today.'” When’s the last time you heard that from a missionary?
This statement encapsulates a trend that’s redefining the Information Age.
The advent of the Information Age means that the average consumer processes facts through multiple sources. It changes how people think, sort and research their interests. By default, the people groups utilizing the tools are also sorted by generation. “Praise the Lord that God uses the technology to bring people in. It’s quite a generational shift”, notes SEND International’s media director, Keith Baum.
The Barna Research Group just released a report summarizing the challenges facing ministries:
1) People feel modern life is accelerating and becoming more complex.
2) People want to be culturally informed, but they are becoming accustomed to skimming content.
3) People are moving beyond mere facts and information, and are looking for holistic integration of faith and life.
These results reveal a different kind of intellectual currency utilized by today’s consumer-one that ends up incorporating meaningful life with faith. Baum explains that thinking was behind the total revamp of SEND’s presence on the Internet. “90% of our people were going to 10-percent of our web pages. We did a little further research to find out what pages they were going to and it turns out they were ‘opportunity’. People were looking for opportunities to go, to give, they were looking for resources that could help them.”
Getting the word out on opportunity-driven ministry to a multi-focused audience means conquering the noise of the cultural acceleration. How? With repetition. “You not only need to have videos up on YouTube, you need to have a website, you need to have
blogs, you need to have Facebook, you need to have Twitter, e-blasts… and all these things need to work together because people are running on all these different channels.”
Does it work? Since SEND revamped their information age approach, he says, “75% of our last missionary candidate school came to us saying they had never heard about SEND before, but they found us through a search on Google, or Yahoo, or Bing! or some search engine.”
SEND is an interdenominational evangelical mission organization with about 600 Christian missionaries in more than 20 areas of Asia, Eurasia, Europe and North America. They focus on church planting among the unreached. Baum adds, “In trying to use the tools that are available to us to further God’s kingdom, our passion is that not just the technology be used, but that more missionaries will head to the field, that more donors would come online to help those missionaries in the field to support them, that more prayers would come forth to pray that the Gospel would go forth to the unreached people of the world.”
It all boils down to: pray, give or go. There are links for these action points here.