This article starts a new series in this column. In the first articles, we talked about some fundamental principles for digital evangelism, and we saw that this evangelistic approach is more real and personal than you think.
In this new series, I will tell stories of people who were reached by the digital evangelism strategies we do here at Novo Tempo. I hope they inspire you and also bring insights into your work in fulfilling the mission.
Without a presence on the internet, no one can be reached
To start, I want to introduce you to the story of Yglianni Campos, a young woman who had her life transformed when she got in touch with Esperança , the virtual Biblical instructor of Rede Novo Tempo. Would you like to know what is very interesting? Yglianni met Esperanca while reading an article on the internet - like the one you are reading now! That's why I don't want to miss this opportunity: if you need to have your life transformed and want to learn more about God, go to novotempo.com/estudobiblico and meet the Biblical instructor who made the difference in Yglianni's life. I guarantee she will do it for you, too.
I confess that I don't know which article was read by Yglianni, but regardless, I want to point out the importance of having content spread on the internet. As simple as it may be, we must diversify our presence in the digital environment, as this is how we will reach people. Even those materials that are primarily informational, such as news, can be used by the Holy Spirit to impact a life and serve as a gateway.
Before knowing this message, Yglianni was going through difficult times in her love relationship. That's when she decided to go to the countryside with her aunt and spend three months there. During this period, she accompanied her uncle and listened to the stories from the Bible that he told. She knew he was part of some Christian denomination, but she didn't know exactly which one.
Just before returning to town, her uncle told her that she should look up the Adventist Church on the internet. Upon arriving back in Manaus, determined to change her life, she followed her uncle's advice and met Esperança(Hope). Do you realize the importance of being strongly present on the internet and that we have our beliefs well founded and explained? Millions of searches are made daily on Google, and many of them are related to religious and/or spiritual matters.
Hope was the means of evangelization
Yglianni began studying the Bible with Hope and was fascinated by the content she was learning, and also by the fact that she was being taught by a robot, mainly because it was in the middle of the pandemic and she would not feel comfortable receiving in-person studies due to the risks involved. In this case, the digital model fit like a glove to the scenario she was living in.
She has studied the Teachings of Jesus Bible courses , which deal with fundamental biblical beliefs; Entre Família, which addresses exactly the problems she was facing with her boyfriend; and The 8 Natural Remedies, a course that talks about natural remedies created by God so that we can have our immune system strengthened. It was fantastic for her to learn all that without leaving the house, free of charge, any day and time she wanted, and all on her WhatsApp.
I know the idea of a robot that teaches the Bible sounds almost heretical, but look at the context, look from the side of the person who is behind this teaching. Is it a heretic or an inspired idea? At the current juncture, Hope was not ONE means for Yglianni, Hope was THE means. And you know what else? There are thousands of “Ygliannis” around the world.
The Church is the body of Christ and each part of it has a specific and fundamental function. By bringing this Biblical illustration into our context, every department of the church, every evangelistic initiative, every project, will reach people who would not be reached otherwise. It's like that with canvassing, it's like that with the Pathfinders, it's like that with the Sabbath School, it's like that with Esperança, and, it's like that with all the other missionary fronts that we have.
Not everything is flowers
We cannot overlook the fact that not everything is a flower. It wasn't easy for Yglianni, and it's not easy for practically anyone who decides to change their life and surrender to Jesus. Her boyfriend didn't like the fact that she was studying the Bible and making radical changes. In fact, their relationship would need a definitive solution: either they would separate or they would marry. In addition to that decision, she needed to decide whether to step away from certain companies, stop going to places she liked, and even stay in or leave her current job.
The day of the definitive conversation with her boyfriend arrived and he gave her an ultimatum: either him or God. She made her new convictions very clear and she was unwilling to give up the God she was getting to know. The result? You already know! She gave up the man she loved.
Do you know what most catches my attention at this point? The power of God's Word! The power is not in the messenger, but in the message. If we look coldly, Hope is a robot without emotions and without the power of argument, but I am fully convinced that the Holy Spirit accompanies each student of Hope and He makes what really matters to be aggrandized: the Word of God.
Intentional and planned evangelism
During the Bible study process, Hope spoke about the importance of relating to the body of Christ in the real world and suggested that Yglianni receive a visit from a pastor. At first, she was afraid and even a little disbelieving, but accepted the proposal. A few weeks later, Pastor Fábio Heverton got in touch and she was moved. She felt that there was a whole team behind Hope that cared for her. She was sure that she was already loved by these unknown people and by the God she was meeting.
Do you see one more relevant point here in the evangelism strategy? It started with the content that led her to Hope. Hope took her to the Bible study and, in the process, put her in touch with a local pastor. The pastor introduced her to a church that continued the work. Gradually, she began to relate more and more until she decided to be baptized. All these steps are explained in detail here, here, and here.
Our efforts cannot be measured
Yglianni had now sealed her commitment to God once and for all, but there was one thing incomplete in her life: her ex-boyfriend. She prayed for him and kept in touch. He realized that she really had changed. She was now a new person. The woman he loved was even more admirable now, she had a different glow and happiness. He was curious and decided that he wanted that for his life too. It was then that he began to study the Bible and learn the truth that had transformed Yglianni.
The bottom line of the story is that he was baptized, they got married, they are heavily involved in the mission, and they live a completely changed life. Isn't that wonderful?
I conclude by telling you that the results of our efforts will be uniquely and fully known in heaven. Today I'm telling you the story of Yglianni, and through her, we also know a little about Renan's (her ex-boyfriend) story. In the next few articles, I'll tell you other stories, but you know what? These stories aren't even the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of other lives we don't know about that have been impacted by digital evangelism, and many of other people that have started a ministry that has also impacted tens, hundreds, or thousands of others. Do you see the safety net we are creating without even seeing it? Do your part, let God do His, and you will discover the results in heavenly mansions!