Lebanon (MNN) — Discouragement is tangible in Lebanon despite holiday decorations and Christmas cheer. Multiple disasters made 2020 a difficult year for many. More Lebanon headlines here.
“There’s a lot of hopelessness in Beirut. You can see that in people’s eyes; how they’re speaking, how they interact with each other,” says Lily Malky, Communication & Partnership Director of Resurrection Church Beirut (RCB).
“People are hopeless, and we pray that the Church would bring the hope of Jesus to them and help them know that He is the only solution.”
“Resurrection Church is a missional church; we exist to make disciples. We do that [by] helping connect people to God in different ways, helping them live a holy family life, and live in community together,” Malky says. Learn more about RCB here.
The church began using digital media for ministry in 2016. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic sent their efforts into overdrive. Malky describes three ways RCB’s team shares Christ and His hope online.
Idea #1: Livestream your church service
Nothing replaces in-person fellowship, but pandemic restrictions and lockdowns made live-streamed church services the status quo in 2020. “The COVID-19 pandemic helped the whole Church get a taste of what online ministry is all about, and it definitely helped us all huddle together to maximize our resources to reach the world in a better way,” Malky notes.
RCB’s journey to online ministry began much earlier. In 2016, Lebanese believers partnered with SAT-7 to broadcast their Sunday morning church service on satellite TV and social media. Those broadcasts continue today, and “we also have a different platform called Resurrection Church TV,” Malky says.
“That started in October 2019 because of the political situation and demonstrations in Beirut. [It] is a place where people can watch the service, they can comment live; there’s online pastors interacting with the people, as well as a place where they can send prayer requests.”
Don’t worry if your faith community lacks IT specialists. Your church doesn’t have to create its own platform. There are plenty of free services available.
“Because [our service is] on Facebook Live as well, people can watch it throughout the week. Sometimes, we have Watch Parties on Facebook where people share this service with some friends of theirs,” Malky says.
Idea #2: Study the Bible together online
Social distancing does not have to result in emotional or spiritual distancing. Lebanese believers use social media tools to grow in Christ together and deepen their biblical knowledge.
“Closed groups on WhatsApp or Facebook act like Bible study groups or ‘life groups’ where people interact, ask questions around the sermon, discuss things. It’s very engaging,” Malky explains.
“We were trying to form community online because that’s what’s needed.”
Although RCB began with a local approach, “today we have people from top cities like Damascus, Aleppo, Sydney; also [cities] in the USA and Canada, Australia, Algeria, watching us and interacting with our content,” she continues.
Idea #3: Fill your social media feed with Jesus
As described here, social media communication often facilitates ill will and negativity, but it can also carry messages of hope.
“We’re doing our best to reach people online in different ways. We distribute that (sermons and training material) through Whatsapp, through different social media groups like Instagram, to help people interact with the content,” Malky says of RCB’s approach.
“[Youth at RCB use] certain platforms like TikTok to reach out to the teens of the Arab world. We’re almost reaching 300,000 youth in the Middle East.”
Lebanese young people don’t have much to hope for, as noted in a previous report. “That’s the most ‘felt’ need of the young people,” Malky agrees.
“In a country and an environment where there’s a lot of bad news and sad news, our teenagers are dedicated to sharing good news across these channels. [RCB] youth are posting inspirational things, funny things; trying to help everyone interact with them, and sharing [the] Good News.”
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy by Pratik Gupta via Unsplash.