International (MNN) — In these technological days, it can be really difficult to make the Gospel seem relevant to teenagers. But rather than shrug shoulders about how to go about it, some ministries are willing to meet them with whatever means necessary.
TheDougandJonShow.com is one of those ministries. "We're trying to build a bridge from YouTube to the cross, from Facebook to the cross, for as many young people as we can," says Doug Hutchcraft, the "Doug" of The Doug and Jon Show.
The humor-based Web site is an offshoot of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries and uses all forms of social media to attract young viewers. Humor plays a large role on The Doug and Jon Show, but the purpose behind it is far deeper than belly laughs.
"We want to be where young people on this planet are when they are looking for help. If they're looking for help on YouTube, if they're looking for help on Facebook, if they're looking for help on Web sites, we want to make sure–like Jesus did–that we are where they are to offer them hope," explains Hutchcraft.
But in order to offer that hope, "You've got to build a relationship first. So we use comedy, cultural commentary–all sorts of things like that–to try to build a relationship, even a friendship, as crazy as that might sound, with young people across the planet."
It might sound crazy because they aren't really talking to these kids: they relying almost solely on social media to interact. Doug and Jon have over 151,000 Facebook fans. The duo posts funny pictures and videos on a daily basis and almost always respond to any viewer comments. Their interaction gives them an "in" to later guide kids in search of Gospel answers.
"It never ceases to amaze me the kinds of deep, and sometimes dark, feelings and struggles they're willing to talk about with someone they've never met face-to-face. Facebook [and] Twitter can be not just a way of life where young people are hanging out, but it's their confessional," says Hutchcraft. "So everything from fear about the future, to parental frustrations, sexual decisions, suicidal thoughts are just laid bare, broadcast to the world."
Even more exciting than teenagers being willing to open up is their openness to receive the Good News of Christ. Doug and Jon put up a YouTube video explaining the Gospel recently. In just 90 days, the video had been viewed 640,000 times, and 18,000 people indicated to Doug and Jon that they had prayed with them at the end to accept Christ.
The Doug and Jon Show is reaching thousands of young people from all different areas of the world, but now they hope to grow those relationships with a new project. One week from today on August 9, Doug and Jon will host their first Doug and Jon Live show. For this first week, the team will host 15 minutes of comedy broadcast live on Facebook and UStream.
Then in September, they will do another 15-minute live event, this time more serious. The September event will be focused on answering questions viewers have about God, parents, friends, and many serious issues that come up frequently on the Doug and Jon Show. Fans will be able to ask questions during the live event and have them answered on air.
The event could draw 100 or 100,000. What's most vital now is prayer–not just for numbers, but for transformed hearts. Pray that God wigll use these events to draw teenagers to Himself. Pray for the right words for Doug and Jon and for no technology glitches during the events.
Hutchcraft also has a favor to ask of you: "Maybe you know a teenager. If they'll listen to you, invite them to participate with us. All they need to do is go to the Doug and Jon Show Facebook fan page, click 'like,' and they will be seeing us in their newsfeed on Facebook, and they'll know when we're having these live events. They'll have access to these videos and this advice."