Digital Missions In The Wesleyan Spirit
Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash
World missions in the Wesleyan spirit, in broad strokes, is about:
- Wesley’s concept of prevenient grace—the notion that God is at work in every people group, revealing something of God’s self and nature, preparing them for saving grace and eventually sanctifying grace.
- The integration of evangelism with social ministries. This means that we hold together both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Jesus is calling people to repentance and eternal life as well as responding to their daily needs, their broken bodies, and their damaged spirits.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit 136 years ago, Methodist missionaries preached, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6b (ESV) was then planted in Singapore, and the Methodist missions in the Wesleyan spirit served that generation, “that yields its fruit in its season, and (where) its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:3b, ESV).
Indeed, the Methodist Church in Singapore inherited the prosperity of our forebears, but we must not rest on our laurels! We are also empowered, and privileged to continue the momentum of spreading scriptural holiness expressed through personal and social holiness. If it took a global pandemic for us to realise that our generation is at the core fundamentally broken, then God has interrupted our “bull run” of power and privilege, constraining us to pay attention to the downtrodden, broken, sin-filled physical and digital world!
If it took a global pandemic for us to realise that our generation is at the core fundamentally broken, then God has interrupted our “bull run” of power and privilege, constraining us to pay attention to the downtrodden, broken, sin-filled physical and digital world!
Throughout 2020, Covid-19 social distancing compelled us to change the way we engage with people at work and even in worship. Prohibited from gathering physically, organisations and congregations switched gears to hyper-drive speed; we digitalised our processes and began sending content through the internet and to screens located in digital spaces where people “gather” to interact online. If you are still wondering how all this is happening, perhaps I could encourage you to look at the tools, strategies, and partnerships from a missional perspective. You will discover “yielded fruit” which churches can use to serve our generation that embraces onsite and online engagement.
What would you do differently if the tools available today virtually reaches the eyeballs of all in need of God’s mercy and grace? The potential of connected mobile devices has expanded the potential of your church’s worship service to engage both churched and unchurched people! Even as you read this, redeemed geeks are developing more tools to reach the remaining tribes and languages, so that every touchscreen and every sound card could project and amplify the good news. Along with the plethora of devices, God is raising a new generation of media creators that is producing holistic movies and bringing the bible to the whole world in ways that are relevant and engaging.
Even as you read this, redeemed geeks are developing more tools to reach the remaining tribes and languages, so that every touchscreen and every sound card could project and amplify the good news.
Unless our preachers can travel great distances at the speed of data navigating the information superhighway, we will need all missions strategies to embrace a “both; and” approach to meeting onsite and online objectives. The dominion of this world continues to push back God’s Kingdom despite the Covid-19 lockdown; but because disciples of Christ are recognising the value of digital outreach and know how to use it, Gospel for the whole world is no longer a lofty and blurry vision.
The new (ab)normal will be characterised by every small group, church, denomination, and missions organisation, strategising and collaborating to reach both the physical and digital frontiers; bringing the worship of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to communities that do not yet have bodies of believers.
Digital strategies speed up the process of finishing the great commission, in which time Christ will come again in final victory, and we will feast at His heavenly banquet. I hope you would share the excitement with me, seeing the potential that digital strategies bring to the tasks of missions and evangelism.
The dominion of this world continues to push back God’s Kingdom …… Gospel for the whole world is no longer a lofty and blurry vision.
Finally, digital missions in the Wesleyan spirit mean we can relate virtually, and serve the world together, as one body of Christ.
Physical interactions are advantageous in building relationships with other missionaries, but video conferencing made it possible for me in Singapore, to speak to missionaries spread over the Himalayan region. Using online forms accessible by scanning QR codes, my wife and I can receive responses to God’s Word, and prayer requests from the fellowship. This was unimaginable in the 90s when we both started in full-time ministries.
We, His Church, the universal body of Christ, are in a season when we can now converge to serve in greater unity to bring scriptural holiness to every country. Digital platforms have enhanced our partnerships where we can come together, “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:25–26, ESV).
Digital platforms have enhanced our partnerships where we can come together, “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. …
Rev Erick Tan
Member, CAC Board of Missions