If you were a missionary starting ministry in a new community, how would you identify people open to spiritual conversations? In the past, it may have taken years to find and cultivate such relationships. In this episode we talk with Amber, who leads a team that coaches missionaries on using social media and the web to to engage with people in unreached parts of the world who are using these same tools to find answers to their spiritual questions.
If you were a missionary starting ministry in a new community, how would you identify people open to spiritual conversations? In the past, it may have taken years to find and cultivate such relationships. In this episode we talk with Amber, who leads a team that coaches missionaries on using social media and the web to engage with people in unreached parts of the world who are using these same tools to find answers to their spiritual questions.
**BONUS Content** Nadia was praying at Islam’s holiest site when she had a realization that the God she was praying to was not alive and could not actually hear her prayers.
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From a Forest Temple is a video that tells the story of Tom, a South Asian man who came to faith through media (albeit one of the oldest forms of it) and now uses digital technology to make disciples.
Also, don’t miss Googling Jesus, nine stories of spiritual seekers coming to faith through digital media outreach.
Research shows us that there's two-and-a-half percent of any given population who are actually open to spiritual change. And so finding them, engaging with them is something that social media can help with.
This is the Relentless Pursuit podcast where we hear stories from cross-cultural workers on what it's really like to be a missionary—the good, the bad and the ugly.
One of the things that I really have loved about the season of Relentless Pursuit is just how many different sort of alternative ministries that we've seen, ministries that really kind of don't fit in the typical classic box of missionary that you might think of. And today's episode is definitely another example of that. We're going to be talking about how social media is being used for evangelism and discipleship in all over the world really, but particularly in the Middle East. And so I think it's partially interesting because one social media gets such a bad rap in news and just in general as being kind of this origin of all evil sort of thing, but we're really going to be able to see how it's doing so much good and then how it's being really used for the gospel and ultimately, whether you're using social media or whatever method that you're using, ultimately, all of these stories that we're hearing are all about real people who really just need to hear the love of Jesus and need to hear the gospel. That's what today's story is about.
Yeah, the person we'll be talking to is Amber, who is a leader in Pioneers. And what she does is coach teams on the field that are using social media to find spiritual seekers. She leads a team of people that do this because missionaries maybe aren't naturally going to be using these kinds of tools and may not know how to use them, but there are experts that she's gathered on this team that help missionaries leverage these tools to find spiritual seekers. So as we begin this conversation with Amber, she's going to start right off with a story of a young woman and her family and their country was facing crisis, and that's what led them to start asking some really important spiritual questions. And so we'll just dive right in the middle of her story.
Miriam's family had always been religious. They prayed regularly. They went to the mosque, they gave to the poor, they fasted during Ramadan. They were well respected in their community and lived a relatively peaceful life. However, during a time of political unrest in their country, extremists came in and took over some of the teaching in the mosques and had influence in society, and people were recruited by the hundreds to join extremist efforts abroad. And when that happened, Miriam's family became disillusioned with their religion and they longed for peace and hope. So Miriam's father asked each member of the family to research a different religion to see if they might find some answers, and he asked Miriam to look into Christianity. So she did. She started a Google search and one night she had a dream, and in this dream there was a Bible and she heard a voice that said, this is my word.
There is nothing above it or below it. Next morning, she told her family about the dream and they all agreed that Miriam should continue her search and Miriam's efforts led her to an Arabic Christian website where she began chatting with a believer online and this believer invited her to meet at a cafe. Well, Miriam was a little scared. She wasn't sure. She trusted Christians. She'd never met one before. I mean, what if this meeting was a trap? And she never saw her family again. However, she decided to be brave and go to the meeting. And when she arrived, she was pleasantly greeted by a kind young woman who helped her to discover more about Jesus. Miriam did come to faith and she shared the gospel with each of her family members who also came to faith and were baptized.
So it's really interesting to hear that story. I don't really picture fathers of Muslim families being super democratic in that sense of, hey, I want everybody to kind of come up with different options and we're going to all consider it all together as a family. So is that normal in a family in the Middle East?
I wouldn't say it's normal. No. This might be an exceptional family
For reals. And even just the girl's sort of her fear about going to meet a Christian and a cafe and being afraid that she's never going to see her family again. I mean, it's kind of ironic. I feel like if anything as Americans, we might be afraid of going to meet a Muslim in a Muslim country and then never seeing our family again. But then she actually has sort of the opposite where she's afraid of meeting a Christian. So could you kind of tell us a little bit more about where that fear comes from?
I think that fear just comes from the unknown of not having a lot of interaction with Christians and having a stereotype that makes them to be somebody different than what they really are.
Are there situations in which there's kind of a bait and switch or interest is not authentic and not real on the part of someone who's supposedly seeking and then that's used to either gather information or to attempt to disrupt the efforts of people that are trying to find and disciple people there?
Absolutely, yes. We often train our teams to really become aware. It starts from the digital filtering stage trying to really discern is this a true spiritual seeker? What is their intent? And there are some ways that you can discern their intent, but obviously some get through. And so even when you get to the face-to-face meeting, there are things that you can do to kind of either help ensure that this person is somebody that would be safe. We often encourage people to call them before they arrive or arrive early to scope out the situation. And if anything is amiss or maybe there's extra presence of suspicious people, we encourage that disciple maker to maybe change locations just to be on the safe side.
Well, let's backtrack. Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
I was just going to say, I guess that's actually happened before then that you've had people sort of have to back away or come into situations where maybe they met the person and they were like, Ooh, this is not what I thought it was in the beginning. What do you do in those cases?
I mean, the disciple maker can make a choice. They have the Holy Spirit, so that's their best lead as far as discerning the appropriateness of continuing the meeting or rather rescheduling at a different time. And so that would be one thing. The other thing is it's actually more common when you find somebody, you actually meet them and their motives are different. So they may not have a malintent, they have maybe a money intent or what they can get from you intent.
Yeah. Can you back up a little bit maybe and explain how you even get to the place where someone is willing to come and to be face-to-face with a believer in a place like this? Can you take us back to the beginning, Amber?
Yeah, sure. So yeah, it usually starts with a post, an ad, a piece of content that has been organically seen. There's many different social media platforms now that engage and identify spiritually open people. So that's really the first contact. And when a seeker finds that ad or piece of content, they then either consume it more or they start engaging with it. They follow the prompts of an ad or they private message the page, or they consume more content based on the call to action that is indicated. And when that happens, they will then often move to what we call an online conversation, and that's the conversation where the digital filterer and the seeker are exchanging dialogue and the digital filterer is trying to discern is this a person who is truly seeking Christ? They'll establish rapport with that person and then they'll help identify what is their felt need, why are they coming, why did they respond to an ad or a piece of content?
And then from that, they will really try to discern their true spiritual need. Maybe they came and thinking that their felt need was forgiveness from a family member, or maybe it was to belong in community, but what there's true spiritual need is forgiveness from God or to belong to a biblical community and be part of God's family. The digital filterer tries to discern not only the felt need but the spiritual need, and then from there they pivot the conversation to help that individual move offline so that they can do that in community. We never want to encourage a seeker to make a decision online because that's an individual journey, and the rate of stick rate, as we might say, isn't as high as those that move offline to meeting a believer or even in a group of believers face-to-face. So then they can learn to discover and obey and share all that God has for them.
Yeah, I think that might tap into some of the misperceptions people might have of how reaching Muslims online works. I think there might even be a sense that, wow, this is a way that we can do it so much more quickly and just gather in millions and millions of souls. But what you're describing is still a very methodical process that mirrors exactly the type of thing that would happen on a one-on-one basis. If you were to meet someone on the street, it takes time. You have to build a relationship, build trust, and actually have a care and concern for people's needs, not just seeing them as another checkbox on your list of people that you're trying to get saved.
That's exactly right.
So it's almost like you make that kind of, instead of making the staircase, so to speak, all lower, it's just like you make the first step lower. So it's kind of like the entry point is a little bit easier to start having spiritual connections and conversations with Christians. Would you say that that's kind of a good way to look at it?
Yes, I would. That's a great way to look at it. And research shows us that there's two and a half percent of any given population who are actually open to spiritual change. And so finding them, engaging with them, is something that social media can help with. It's certainly not a silver bullet in ministry, but it is something that as we partner with the Holy Spirit, I mean, where do people go when they search for life's answers? They do a Google search. And so ministries, if they want to be found with the message of Christianity, can create content, can create a pathway for those seekers to find them to be able to be identified so that that connection point can be made a lot more easily.
Yeah, it's so interesting to think that, oh, Google something that we use all the time every day. It's also being used on the other side of the world for those exact same spiritual life questions. So it's kind of funny to think that it's also being used.
What are some of the topics or questions that spiritual seekers that you see them consistently asking about? It'd be interesting to paint a picture of what type of person this is, and I realize there are probably a lot of diversity into that answer, but I have a feeling there's probably some common threads that you and those teams that you're coaching are seeing out there.
Yeah, it does depend a lot on the content that is put out, but I would say a primary theme that is globally consumed or engaged with is the topic of prayer. And so many ads or pieces of content go out talking about how did Jesus pray? What did he pray for, and how can you engage in prayer? Do you need prayer? And so there's many variations of this broad theme of prayer, but that is often a great piece of content that engages spiritual seekers. It also serves as a filter. First and foremost, prayer is kind of a universal activity no matter what religion you are a part of. It may obviously look different from different religious viewpoints, but prayer is a common terminology and activity in most of the world. And so people are curious how praying in Christianity is different, and also they want their prayers answered.
And so oftentimes when people respond to ads with prayer content, they're actually already telling us their felt need. And so it makes the digital filterer's job even a little bit easier because they're coming and saying, I would really like prayer for my mother. She's sick. I'd like prayer for a job. And that gives that digital filter and that seeker a starting point. Again, they're identifying that felt need, but they go deeper and identify that spiritual need because then the digital filterer can't maybe help them find a job or cure their mom, but God can, and the digital filterer can point the conversation back to the word of God so that the seeker can then start to realize or have some self-awareness about the underlying spiritual need that they have.
And these are, I'm interested to know a little bit about the demographics we're talking about here, because I think over the years, the demographics of people that have been involved in social media has grown. So it's not just young people that we're talking about. I mean, this is multi-generational people that you're encountering and that your teams are encountering.
Absolutely. I heard yesterday, I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard yesterday there's that TikTok actually, though the biggest consumer audience is in their forties. So I mean, I don't know if that's true or not, but yeah, social media is certainly not for a specific demographic. It encompasses all ages.
So do you use TikTok or social media a lot for yourself personally, and is that kind of how you sort of got into doing this sort of ministry?
I do use social media. It's not how I got involved in it, but I do use it.
Well, your background is actually serving on the field, so you're not just someone who's isolated or coaching teams that are on the field, but you have on the ground the experience. How different is this from what you were doing then and what are the similarities?
Well, there's several similarities, but there's also a considerable amount of differences. I would say as a field worker, I was the one who could talk to the spiritual seeker or find ways to identify them, whether it's through friendship evangelism or through the workplace. I was always out there trying to find somebody who was spiritually open, and gosh, if I would've known more about this strategy, it might've made my job a little bit easier if I could have just been handed a contact that God had already in effect shoulder tapped, and had kind of gone through a vetting process, that would've been incredible. But yeah, I think so engaging in disciple making, engaging in evangelism is something that I did more on the field, but I was also involved with some content creation. And so that is definitely different now with my role in coaching others towards that and also helping them develop a full end-to-end strategy.
Now, you've talked a lot about, and even in the story you shared, about what God is doing in the world of Muslims. Is this also happening in other religious blocs, whether it be Hindu or Buddhist or tribal or other, even smaller religions than that?
Absolutely. These kind of initiatives are taking place globally among unreached people, groups of the world. Southeast Asia actually is a shining example of a group of believers who came together and started pivoting their media efforts towards social media. And they're a wonderful example as a very mature initiative, meaning that they reach out to multiple unreached people groups. They've solidified their digital filtering process and are seeing now generational fruit from all of their efforts upwards in the way of anywhere from 60 to 80 handoffs, people who've been identified online that move offline for a face to face followup. This is on a monthly basis. And so definitely God is using this strategy not only in among Arabs, but also Hindus and Buddhists and the Unreligious peoples of the world in Europe.
And what you're describing too is this is being led and carried out, not necessarily always by white Westerners, but we're talking about local believers that are using this in their communities to find people that are spiritually seeking.
That's the biggest trend we've seen in the last year or two, actually, just a year, about two years ago, I'm sorry, there was approximately 13% of the missional force globally speaking, who were engaged in some level of digital strategy. And that's a significant amount when we think about the global mission force. And now we're seeing this trend towards national believers starting to employ and use their gifts of website design, content development, technology, and start developing new content, new technology, and engage in digital filtering and of course the offline component of multiplying disciples.
So your role is doing a lot of coaching for those nationals or for on-the-ground believers who are doing the discipling or content creating and that kind of thing. Is that correct?
Because you're coaching not just one tiny little area of the Middle East. I imagine you are working with people from several different countries, and though I know that you mentioned even just the universal aspect of how prayer is a really big, very important for a lot of people, but I'm sure there are also a lot of cultural differences, as you go throughout North Africa and into Middle East. So how do you coach across all the different cultural differences and the way that people approach social media differently or the way they approach getting together in person differently?
Well, that's the nice thing about coaching. You don't have to be the expert of all these different cultures. The team is the expert. And so while we can coach towards best practices, while we can curate best practices and inform, we can ask good questions, and we can put the ownership on that team to really, for example, when they get to the stage of implementation where they need to decide on a brand, we encourage them to test their brand with local believers and also their target audience. And so the onus is on that team, is on the local people.
Do you find that when there are disruptions in a society, whether that be politically or even a natural disaster or a famine or something like that, does that have any effect on this type of ministry in terms of making people think differently maybe about their religious beliefs or their religious loyalties or things like that?
Absolutely. There's oftentimes a considerable uptick in their search and what they're searching for. And so many teams, once a situation happens, for example, just a while back when the situation happened in Ukraine, the teams who are already involved in media ministry decided, Hey, this would be a great opportunity to some targeted ads. People need hope right now. People need care. People need an opportunity to look beyond their circumstance. And so those types of situations and opportunities really pave the way for an uptick in spiritual interest and engagement.
Very cool. What would you say, I know obviously there's an obvious limitation that they're not in community if everything is done online, but what would you say is another big limitation or struggle that your teams have to are facing in this ministry?
I think you probably hit one of the biggest struggles because the traditional pathway of finding and engaging with spiritual seekers online is oftentimes it lends itself to an individual journey. And so that seeker is engaging with the content individually, they're having an individual conversation with that digital filter, and then they're meeting offline individually with a believer. And so those are challenges. And so part of coaching, part of learning from other teams and building networks together is how do you mitigate, how do these different media to movement initiatives, mitigate that individualistic journey and try to vision cast from the point of content creation? And so rather than having an ad, a piece of content that displays a person like one individual or create, or has verbiage, that indicates a one person pathway, are you concerned about this?
Stating it in the collective? And so beginning that first interaction, just something small that would indicate, Hey, there's something bigger happening. And then from the digital filtering stage, how can that digital filter cast vision that I'm a part of a community of believers and I would like you to meet my friends? Is there anybody like you in your family or among your friends that are seeking spiritual answers like you are? And so from that, even that touch point, when they get to that stage of the process, helping them to connect with somebody just like them can be one way to mitigate that individual journey. And then of course, the offline part, hey, bring a friend with you, or would you mind if I brought a friend with me? And so I think continually teams are continually learning how to do this, how to iterate, and how to help cast that vision that this is more than just an individual journey, but you can be part of a group a community, right?
I mean that makes so much sense that you are so kind of proactive about setting that expectation and that sort of culture, even in your content, from those first stages of connecting with people. And so people don't go into it thinking, this is just me on myself on an island all the time, but you're sort of really bathing them in this, no, this is kind of communal, this is community, this is communal, all that sort of stuff. So that's really cool how you have to be so kind of strategic almost about that sort of stuff.
I want to talk a little bit about what it looks like for missionaries that are involved in this type of ministry. And obviously this kind of paints a different picture of what it means to be a missionary than maybe is in our minds. I don't think a lot of times people think of missionaries as being high tech people. I don't think that's necessarily what this requires, but there's a real sense of innovation and a desire to leverage the latest technology that's out there and explore new ways of engaging with people. So in light of these new opportunities, what does that mean for what the missionaries are going to look like in the future?
I think missionaries are going to have a keener awareness of how and when and the capacity in which they can use their phones, whether it's simply by having some tools online, there's apps now that can help you lead a discovery group. There's apps that can literally tell you the Bible in their heart language and give you pictures at the same time. And there's all of these great digital tools that make the missionary of the twenty-first century effective in their work. And as they also start engaging and finding spiritually open people, the opportunity in which their people group is already being, already has an initiative present, they're going to be the recipients of those efforts. And so if they're going to a particular country, one of the first things that they could learn about that country or that people group is is there a digital to offline effort? Is there a media ministry that's already doing a work? And then to get connected with them because they could be the recipient of some of those media contacts and really accelerate their work as a church planter,
Because historically that's not how it would happen. I mean, a missionary would go into community and it could take years to find people that are spiritually seeking. You could be, it's like fishing, tossing out the line over and over with no bites. And this is a totally different approach because you could potentially go into a community and have people that actually want to talk to you, actually have spiritual questions, and you would have no way of knowing who those people are apart from that.
That's exactly right.
And I'm not saying these are shortcuts. I think we all know that this is not a shortcut. It's a way to find people that are already there and have been in there in the past. There's just been, there's no way of knowing who they are.
Yeah, that's exactly right.
It's also kind of interesting. I feel like this kind of ministry, what you've been sharing, you don't necessarily, I mean like yourself, you don't necessarily need to be on the ground in order to be a participant in this kind of work. Do you all have workers or volunteers or missionaries that are working with you that are also remote as you are?
Yes, but it would depend upon the role. So in a media ministry, a strategic digital ministry, not necessarily a broadcast ministry, there are different roles in which people can play, but the church planting role definitely needs to be on the ground. That's the person who receives those vetted media contacts. And then there's the role of the digital filter. They are typically a believer from that country or a near country believer. And so they're speaking that language. They know the nuances. They're going to be able to type or voice message that seeker in the local language. So those people are often people who live in the country or a near country or if they've moved abroad, but they're still that type of person. When you get to the dispatcher role, that's the person that kind of is the matchmaker, so to speak. They match the seeker up with the believer, that person, it's helpful if they have an in-country awareness of where these people live, so they're not matching people up that are hours away from each other.
And so that's a role that lends itself to be more in country. And then you have the role of a coalition developer, somebody who is kind of the shepherd over all of the disciple makers as he or she may be recruiting new local believers or workers who want to receive those media contacts. They're called a coalition developer. And so that's somebody that really needs to be in country as well. But when you move into the roles of marketing or content creation or a technologist role, oftentimes those roles can be done from remote. But it is crucial though that they have a connection with the field team or the leader of that team so that there is contextual buy-in, influence in the content, and that they have the feedback loop that is happening. The marketer would be flying blind if he or she didn't know if their efforts were actually engaging the right audience, and they can only find that information out from, from analytics, but also from feedback from the digital filters. And so although many of these roles can be done remotely, it's helpful if there's a field connection that is cohesive in nature.
That makes a lot of sense.
I think one other thing just came to mind though, when we were talking about maybe people who could live remotely and do things, and that's in the area of software development because there is this growing opportunity for people in the tech world to be involved in digital discipleship and digital evangelism. There are tools that these teams use that need a lot of technical work. They need coders, they need software development. And this is one opportunity that can really engage not only volunteers from around the world, but also missionaries who are skilled in these areas.
So it sounds like there are opportunities for people at all different skill levels or technical abilities. This is not just reserved for people that are highly technical because ultimately you got to have good relational skills and cultural skills to meet people on the ground and even to make that bridge between understanding what people need on the ground, what the teams need, and then what the resources are that are at their disposal. But it does pose, it seems like a great possibility of people being involved who maybe are not able to go vocationally full-time or to travel. It taps into resources in the body of Christ that maybe up until now have been underutilized and maybe didn't even know that their skills or their gifts or passions could contribute in any way to reaching the unreached. And that's exciting to hear that is that we're just kind of scratching the surface possibly of what we could see in the future of the whole body of Christ being involved in this.
Absolutely. Your comments just reminded me of this one team in Central Africa that we coached about a year and a half ago, and there was a young man who was eager to learn. He didn't have a lot of skill necessarily, but he was so eager to learn and he learned how to completely do the marketing for his team. And he met with the coaches and he learned all the nuances, learn how to retarget, different marketing strategies. And he loved it so much that when another team launched in Central Africa, he trained that marketer and it was just so beautiful to see his gift set and talents being activated, like you just said, when otherwise they may have gone unnoticed or underused as well.
Yeah. I think another thing people might not be aware of who aren't involved in marketing is that, yes, this is very costly, perhaps from the staffing and software development side, but in some ways it's actually cheaper because when you think about how costly it might be to pay for mass media advertising, to purchase 10 minutes or five minutes on a radio show or something, or television network, which in some parts of the world, they're not going to run your ads, but with social media advertising, the numbers can be much smaller because they're so focused and so well targeted, whether that's for people that are doing search ads or Facebook ads or Instagram ads, you're not spending as much to cast a wide net. You're going for the people already have demonstrated some level of interest. So that's a beautiful thing too, because in some parts of the world, there's not a lot of resources to do this or access to some of these other mass media networks. So it's kind of a stealth approach to finding people, which is cool.
You can tell that you're on the marketing team, Matt. You're like all getting into it.
Yeah. I think this is kind of a question that taps into interests that people have nowadays, and that's AI. And I'm wondering whether your teams and the ones you're coaching are using AI and if that's an emerging area of opportunity.
Absolutely. Yes. AI is super helpful. It can help generate images for ads. It can be a kickstarter for verbiage for the different ad components like the copy or the headline. It can also be used for writing code for software development and for learning management pieces. And more recently, we've been experimenting using AI with testimony videos. There's three big pieces of content that are widely used in a media to movement strategy. And that's Bible content, testimonies, and then Creation to Christ stories. Testimonies, as you well know, they're kind of hard to do because so many people have security concerns, so they don't want to show their face, or they're not comfortable using their voice, and rightly so. They live in many scary places sometimes. And so being able to create a video by which the person's story is shared, but it is not them who's sharing it, is pretty exciting. So we're just on the cusp of experimenting with that. Nothing major yet, but that is definitely a possibility.
That kind of brings up a really good question about how do you deal with censorship and security issues? And if you're posting things online and the local government doesn't like it, especially if something kind of goes viral, so to speak, how do you sort of stay under the radar? So are those issues that y'all are dealing with?
Yes, and I would just say that anybody who spends more than five minutes on a social media platform realizes they're not alone. And so, yes, there are rules, there are regulations, and every social media platform has them. And if we abide by them, we can keep media ministries running. And it's very important that teams understand the restrictions, that they understand the rules of engagement, no matter what social media platform they're using. And as long as they abide by those, they do mitigate the risks of being either shut down or falsely accused, or having hostile reports being made about them. Social media platforms aren't out to get Christians. That's not what they're trying to do. But if we abide by what they've set out, we'll continue in good standing.
Well, Amber, I really appreciate you telling us these stories and kind of giving us a glimpse of what God is doing and how this technology is being used in a way that brings him glory. Because I think we've all seen the ways in which this technology can be used to divide people and to create chaos and to do all sorts of ungodly things. And yet here, in an unlikely place, God is drawing people to himself and creative people like yourself and the teams that you coach are leveraging this. And it's just exciting to hear these stories. So thanks for opening our eyes and widening our view to see this. It's been really cool. Before we go, though, I do want to ask some quick fire questions that will help our readers kind of get a glimpse into your personality. So first one, coffee or tea?
Okay. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
It depends on who I'm with.
Oh, if they're interesting. And if the conversation's going, it could be ...
It could be night owl. Yeah. Yeah. Nice. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A cat person, yeah.
Now, I don't want you to have to give away where you lived when you were on the field, but was there a favorite local dish that you can tell us about?
Let's see. That would totally give it away.
Then you can pass if you need to.
Let's just say all things Mediterranean are lovely.
Was there a strange tradition that you witnessed on the field that you could tell us about? Not just in
Not just in your country, but in any of the other places you visited?
Yeah. I don't think so. Everything
Was just completely normal?
As you would exactly see in the U.S.?
It became normal.
How about a talent you wished you had?
A talent I wish I had. Oh, I would love to have the gift of languages.
Oh, yeah. As all missionaries would probably,
Do you have a go-to late night snack
One more. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a missionary ever since I was 10 years old. Yep.
I wonder though, if what you envisioned in your mind looks anything like what you're doing now.
It definitely didn't.
It didn't even exist probably. Right?
Exactly. So are you saying I'm old?
No, no, that is. I just think no, if anything, even if you had been dreaming of being a missionary 10 years ago, this role may not have existed in the form that exists. So it should maybe stimulate our imaginations as to what a missionary might look like 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 20 years from now. Because there's all sorts of new emerging opportunities for getting involved. And this is just one example. So thanks so much for taking the time and sharing your story with us.
You bet. It's been a pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Most of us, after we become Christians, don't have to wait 10 years before we're able to come in contact and meet someone who's a believer in fellowship with them. But Amber's going to tell us a story in the bonus content about someone just like that who became a believer, and it took them 10 years before they were able to have fellowship with another believer. And in many ways, that's really what's at the heart of what we do here at Pioneers is we don't want anyone to have to wait that long. And so that's why we are working toward planting churches and initiating movements in parts of the world that don't have the gospel, because not only should someone not have to go that long without having fellowship with somebody, but we want to see entire communities brought into relationship with God and having access to the gospel.
So be sure to check out that bonus material. One thing that popped out to me in the conversation with Amber today was just what it looks like to be a missionary is changing. And some of the stereotypes maybe that we've had in our minds no longer apply, and that as these new opportunities emerge, what that picture is is going to change as well. Because 10 years ago, we wouldn't even have imagined that you could be involved in missions using social media. And now it's becoming widely used, even among people that are not Westerners, to find spiritual seekers. And so if you're somebody who doesn't picture yourself as a missionary, think again. Because the way that it looks now is probably not the way it's going to look in 10 years or 20 years, or 30 years. And so that's exciting because that means more and more people have what it takes. They just don't know it yet.
Yeah. I really think it's so easy to be kind of cynical and all Ecclesiastes, and there's nose nothing new under the sun all the time. But at the same time, we serve such a creative God. We serve a God who just, even throughout the Bible, he reaches out to his people time and time again. But it looks a little bit different every single time. So Matt, I really liked what you were saying about how if 10 years ago we had no idea that ministry was going to look like this today. I mean, what might that mean for someone who's listening to this today and is then going to go out overseas 10 years from now?
Right. It's amazing to think about. So be sure to check out our show notes. We've got a few resources there. One is a video that tells a story of a man who's actually from South Asia and he's involved in doing this type of ministry, finding spiritual seekers online, and then bringing them into connection with on the ground disciplers and church planters. So be sure to check out that video. And then we've got a few other resources that will help you understand more deeply what Media Ministry is all about. And we don't ask for money here, but I do want to just bring up the opportunity that you have to invest in media ministry to help resource teams on the ground with the financial resources that they need to be able to purchase ads. Because as you know, it's not free to advertise on these platforms.
And the cool thing is that when you do that, there's a pretty clear correlation in how much money is being given to how many spiritual seekers we're able to come in contact with. And that's because of the in-depth metrics and data that come out of social media marketing. And so it provides a certain amount of accountability and also a sense that what you're giving is actually having impact on the ground. It doesn't take a lot of money either to be able to bring into contact a missionary and someone who's a spiritual seeker. Be sure to check that out in our show notes, and we look forward to seeing you again next time.
Thanks for following us on this episode of the Relentless Pursuit Podcast. Our goal is to make missions accessible to show that it's not just reserved for elite super Christians. If you want to be involved, just go to pioneers.org/start and answer a few questions. We have a team who would love to help you discern your calling and what your next steps might be.
At Pioneers, we love to partner with local churches and send teams to people groups with little or no access to the gospel. Keep up with what God is doing by following us on Instagram, Facebook, X, and YouTube. All at PioneersUSA, one word or visit Pioneers.org. Thanks for listening.