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Find your path to digital missions

I am a missionary. 

Wow, it feels really weird to write that. It feels even weirder to say it out loud.

You see, I’m not exactly the “missionary type.” You know the type. Missionaries are those nice, outgoing people who come to your church every so often and share about the exciting things they are doing in the village of [insert name of place you can’t even locate on a map]. They are extraordinary people, not just from the things that they accomplish, but their personalities also seem larger than life. They’re people that you can easily imagine changing the world.

But that’s not me at all. I’m an introvert, not an outgoing people person. Growing up, I never had deep conversations of any kind, let alone conversations about faith. I’m more of a “creative type,” whatever that means. I would much rather blend into a crowd anonymously than be on stage or talking to strangers. Yet here I am, a missionary. So how did this happen? And why should you care?

I’ll answer the second question first. You should care because your story may be similar. If you’re a Christian, you know that God has called you to share the Good News, but if you’re like most Christians, you don’t. You certainly don’t see yourself as a missionary. That’s something for other people, those extraordinary people who show up at your church every now and then. But I want to share how anyone can be a missionary.

My story

I’ve always had a love for art, especially music and writing. I’ve played guitar since ninth grade and I guess you could say I’ve been writing since I was a little kid creating my own episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the typewriter (remember typewriters?). My relationship with Jesus started shortly after college, when I realized nothing worldly was fulfilling me because I had a “God-shaped hole in my heart.” That led to me starting to read the Bible and going to church, but I wasn’t on mission. I wasn’t sharing my faith.

Since college, I worked various jobs that I hated, including a place I call The Evil Law Firm and a place where I can honestly say the two owners should probably be in jail. Some of my jobs have been in writing and editing, in addition to freelance work as a music journalist. It never occurred to me that I could use my talents for God.

One day I realized that I always enjoy volunteering for my church yet always hate the jobs I’m actually paid to do. I decided to start searching for work in the nonprofit sector, thinking that work that helped others would be more fulfilling. This search took two years, but eventually a friend told me about a missionary organization that needed someone with my talents. They needed a writer, editor, critical thinker. I was shocked, but eventually came to realize that God gave me my interests and talents for a reason and that I should use those talents for Him.

Digital missions writing
This is what my mission field looks like.

Being on mission

Sharing the Gospel is basically storytelling. Specifically, it’s sharing the Greatest Story Ever Told. That’s something I can do. I joined my team in 2014 and have been doing my part to tell what God is doing around the world, tell how people can get involved, tell about effective strategies and learning points, as well as help set strategy, and more.

Along the way, I’ve learned how to be more effective in my personal ministry. I learned how tools like GodTools and Voke make it easier to have spiritual conversations. I learned how to walk alongside others as an online mentor, which was been a very rewarding and empowering experience. It took a while, but I eventually learned that I am a missionary – a digital missionary.

What if I'm not talented?

“That’s great,” you might be thinking, “a writer learned how to use his talents for God, but what if I’m not talented?” To that, I have a simple answer: Yes, you are.

In my experience, most talented people don’t see themselves as talented. I know a lot of writers and not a single one who would say they’re a great writer – yet many of them are. I’ve spent countless hours writing a novel that I am terrified will suck. Every time I turn in a story to the editor of the magazine that I write for, I think, “Well, this one was garbage, but I had to meet the deadline.” And then my editor thanks me and says, “Great work as always!”

Most people take their talents for granted and don’t see what a gift they are. If you’re a coder, you can code for God. If you’re a marketing expert, you can create great campaigns to share the Gospel.

But this goes beyond the types of talents that you would put on a resume. If you’re active on Twitter, you can use that platform for ministry. If you love making funny TikTok videos, that can be a creative way to share the Gospel message. If you have time to respond to emails, you can be an online mentor. You don’t have to do mission work full time; these are all things you can do in your normal day-to-day life.

You can be a digital missionary.

Leading a workshop at Indigitous Nairobi
Leading a workshop at Indigitous Nairobi

God can use you

In 2018, I was asked to lead a workshop about “Knowing Your Audience” at the Indigitous Nairobi conference. My inclination was to say no, because I had never led one before, and I didn’t know the topic as well as someone who had studied marketing or advertising. But in praying about whether to accept, I remembered the story in Numbers 22, when God used a donkey to speak to Balaam. Then I said to myself, “If God can use a donkey to reach people, He can use me!”

I did lead the workshop and actually got great feedback from those who took it. It seems people actually thought I knew what I was doing and learned a lot! Praise God!

My exhortation to you is to keep that in mind. If you think you don’t have what it takes to be a missionary, you are wrong. If God can use a donkey, and even me, then He can use you.

Run

Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)

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