When one considers the enormity of the mission God gave to the church, one must wonder how will the church be able to fulfill it. As we look at the efforts of the church to advance the mission throughout the world, we need to stop and ask ourselves: Can we continue to use our present methods of proclaiming the gospel? Will it be enough to prepare the world for the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
As a church, we have been given a clear mandate to reach the world. In the books of Matthew, Acts, and Revelation, we have been commissioned to go and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. We read: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”—Matthew 28:19, 20 (NKJV). “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people”—Revelation 14:6 (NKJV).
In this technology-driven era, we need to be more innovative in finding new ways to reach the world with the gospel. We have a younger generation that will not be reached by the traditional approaches we have used in the past. If they are going to be reached, we must find new ways of communicating with them.
One way to reach the younger generation is through social media via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other communication tools. We cannot sit back and be content with the old methods we have employed, even though we have experienced much success using them. From time to time, from generation to generation, we have to examine our methodology in reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Seth Pierce, pastor at the Puyallup church in Puyallup, Washington, says in an article titled “What Would Jesus Tweet?,” that “Bottom line: digital media is not a fad. The Internet is 45 years old; the World Wide Web is 25; Facebook is 11; and Twitter is 9. Most people don’t keep their houses, their cars, or their car- pet that long. Additionally, the number of people using these outlets is measured in the hundreds of millions”—Adventist Review, May 5, 2015 (www.adventistreview.org/1511-22). The gospel commission is for us to “go,” and it is evident that there are a great number of people who need to be reached through modern technology and social media.
Pierce further said, “While I affirm the primacy of in-person communication, I also recognize that refusal to participate in tech diminishes one’s influence and ability to network. And it can frustrate those around you.” Ellen White in Evangelism, p. 123, affirms that “He [Christ] did not follow merely one method; in various ways He sought to gain the attention of the multitude; and then He proclaimed to them the truths of the gospel.”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has too much of a vital message not to explore all credible avenues to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Modern technology provides us with an extraordinary means of advancing the everlasting gospel that Christ has called His church to proclaim in these last days of earth’s history.
G. Earl Knight is president of the Atlantic Union Conference and chairman of the Atlantic Union College Board of Trustees.