social Media Ministry Energizes Back to god Ministries
Back to god Ministries use social media tools to provide podcasts, devotional messages and discipleship resources to different language groups. Inset: Paul vandersteen
social media has ushered in a new phase of Back to God ministries’ media ministry. Since its first radio broadcast from Chicago in 1939, Back to God min-
istries International ( www.backtogod.net) has been using
media to share the gospel. That is the ministry’s mission –
“To share the gospel in communities worldwide using radio,
the Internet and other technology.”
The ministry began working in Canada in 1977, using
phone support volunteers to answer questions about Faith
20, one of its TV programs. Back to God minis-
tries also developed Internet outreach programs
through international media teams worldwide.
“we literally saw outreach multiply exponentially,” says Paul Vandersteen, advancement officer
at the Canadian office in Burlington, ont.
Back to God ministries International currently
has 34 websites in 10 languages. of these sites, 32
link to Facebook, 11 to Twitter, and 11 to blogs.
ministry teams use various social media tools
to provide podcasts, devotional messages and discipleship resources to different language groups.
The Chinese ministry team uses renren (Chinese Facebook), sinablog and weibo (Chinese Twitter). The Japanese
ministry team uses pajapaja.jp (Japanese Facebook). All
these forms of social media allow Back to God ministries
International to reach untapped audiences.
“An Arabic Facebook page that introduces the teachings of Jesus has a significant following of those disenfranchised by the more radical element of Islam,” says Vandersteen. In russia Back to God ministries International
sends text messages to people who have subscribed to the
service. when Back to God ministries International started
using social media in China, they received more than a million responses to their websites in a single year.
Social media also provides unique opportunities to
share the gospel in places where freedom of expression is
“In the middle East many listeners want to respond
secretly to our radio or online outreach,” says Vandersteen.
“many listeners can send private text messages, which
PHo To: HAnS muLdEr
our staff answers through secure SmS (Short message
Service, also known as text messaging).”
Back to God ministries in Canada urges Canadian Chris-
tians to keep ministry teams in prayer. “Pray for wisdom to
use our resources to develop gospel outreach in developing
countries where social media is increasing,” says Vander-
steen. Ft –Rachel Baarda
when listeners in the middle East indicate a sincere
desire to follow Christ, “They receive weekly mentoring
calls via Skype,” Vandersteen says. “when possible, new
believers are enfolded into secret groups of Christians who
meet for prayer, worship and discipleship.”
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this faith is true,” says ruba. “we want to make sure we have
resources online so young people can find reasons there for
why faith is reasonable.”
“The way we write is important. I come from a journalism
background. Blogging lends itself to the kind of writing that
appeals to a generation with a short attention span,” says
ruba. “People, Christian or not, are looking for reason to hope.
A culture that says there is no right or wrong can never give
hope because it cannot explain hopelessness.”
The CAC does not shy away from controversial issues.
“Contending for Life and Sexuality” was a recent theme and
included posts on subjects like abortion.