Who Or What Is A Digital Missionary?

What if you started reaching your community wherever they are, 24/7? How could a digital missionary achieve that?

In this episode, Justin interviews Tom Pounder from the YM Sidekick Blog & Podcast on how you can be a digital missionary for the Kingdom and grow your church (and it’s easier than you think).


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Tip Of The Week – Video Subtitles

39% of your audience is more likely to finish videos with subtitles.

Subtitles on Facebook and YouTube works just like closed captioning on your TV. When the viewer mutes the video or wants to watch in a different language, subtitles let the viewer read what they can’t hear.

Remember, more than half of your Facebook video views will be from a mobile device, which means your viewers are using tiny speakers. Subtitles will make sure viewers don’t miss a word.

Subtitles are also great if you live in a bilingual area or just want to make sure your content is accessible worldwide. You can add subtitles for multiple languages across platforms.

Facebook and YouTube do have automatic captioning as a feature. But BEWARE that these services are not 100% accurate.

Justin had a testimony video where the speaker said, “I took my son Sam into school,” which was transcribed into, “I took my son’s salmon to school.” So be sure you check any captions that are auto-generated.

We recommend manually inserting subtitles as you edit the video. This adds more time but will also keep people watching your videos to the end.

In fact, in Justin’s church, 7 out of their top 10 videos have permanent subtitles:

Stay on the lookout for a new CTA article tomorrow on how you can create these subtitles for your videos.

About Our Guest – Tom Pounder

Tom Pounder has a background in student ministry. About 3.5 years ago Tom’s pastor approached Tom to become the Online Campus Pastor for New Life Christian Church. Now Tom does more online ministry than ever.

As the Online Campus Pastor, Tom’s average day varies day-to-day. Tom manages his church’s social media, writes the blog posts, creates video devotionals, engages with people online, and runs 4 online life groups.


What Is A Digital Missionary?


A missionary is someone who goes into an environment with a mission to share Christ. As missionaries, we need to go where people are. And people are online a lot!

So, in short, a digital missionary uses social media, web, and online tools to reach people for Christ.

a digital missionary uses social media, web, and online tools to reach people for christ

What Does It Take?

There is no studying or degree needed to be a digital missionary. You just need to get out there and do it. Maybe someday there might be a digital track in colleges like youth and worship ministry, but right now we’re learning it together.

person at a laptop using phone

Jay Kranda and Social Media Examiner are just a couple of Tom’s favorite resources for digital missionary inspiration. The landscape is constantly changing, so keep up to date on current trends by following your favorite blogs and church ministry Facebook groups.

The important thing to remember is that any average Joe can be a digital missionary.

First Steps To Become A Digital Missionary

Pray. Ask God where He wants you to have influence and what group He wants you to speak into.

Wherever your passions are, you can find an online community to speak the Truth into. One great opportunity is Facebook!

One simple way to use Facebook as a digital missionary is to share Bible verses of what you’re reading for the day. Start from where you are currently, then you can reach out further.

Jesus said, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV) When Jesus said this he was nearest to Judea. Your immediate Facebook friends are your Judea. Start there.

psalm 119 105 your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path sunday social

Tom once went through some Psalms and shared the passages he was reading on Facebook every day. He received a lot of positive feedback that others were impacted by what he shared.

2 more ideas:

  • Share pictures throughout your day of what reminds you of God and makes you thankful.
  • Start a blog of your devotions or what God’s teaching you every day or week.

How To Get More Church Members To Be Digital Missionaries

Remember that it doesn’t take much. Even Tom’s dad is texting with emoji’s…so technology can be learned by anyone. The reality is, we’re all self-taught. So we can find others who are self-taught too.

woman holding camera in forest

Simply reach out to people who are photographers or those who just enjoy using social media. Ask them to help out with sharing what’s on the church website and on the church’s social media.

You can find a digital missionary role for just about anyone of any talent or skill.

More ways anyone can get people involved as a digital missionary for your church:

  • Share what’s being posted on the church social media and website
  • Share Facebook events
  • Check-in on Facebook and geo-tag on Instagram

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to tell people to take their phones out during service and like the church’s Facebook page. You may even be surprised how many staff aren’t following yet!

Other Places To Find Tom:

  1. The YM Sidekick Blog & Podcast
  2. Digital Bootcamp Facebook Group
  3. Twitter

What’s holding you back from being a digital missionary? Do you have other ways to get your church involved in digital ministry? Leave a comment below!

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