Moses Osagiede is based in Nigeria and passionate about using digital tools to connect and engage people with the message of the gospel of Christ. He recently attended our Indigitous Addis event.
Several months ago I began look for better ways we stay connected with disciples in our campus ministry especially during school closure. I also noticed several young people wanting to ask questions in church during the Bible studies time but they could not because time did not permit. Could we ever have interactive Bible studies where people are free to express themselves? This was when mobile chat apps like WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger, 2go.com, started gaining ground in Nigeria. Here is what I found.
I found WhatsApp to be very helpful, here is why: in Africa alone almost half of Kenya’s mobile users i.e. 49% use WhatsApp as their key-messaging tool, a worldwide poll by Jana Mobile reveals. The poll released on 21 February 2014, indicates Nigeria has 45% and South Africa 72% of their mobile users using WhatsApp.
Why do people use WhatsApp more than any other chat app in Africa?
- It uses low bandwidth.
- It is easy to use because many of my friends and contact on are it.
- Best App for sending text, pictures, music and videos at lower cost. (In Nigeria, WhatsApp subscription less than $2 per month).
- Delivers messages fast.
- Supports many mobile phones.
Meet my online church on WhatsApp
When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” I believe he was not just referring to going on foot, road, or sea alone, he commanded us to go to where people are. In Africa many people are now on mobile. Here is Bible study/church on WhatsApp that start this year!
In this church 50 people signed up to study the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ for one year. We take each fruit for every month! We meet everyday and almost every hour. The members are young professionals living in different Nigeria cities and other African countries. Everyone is allowed to make input, ask questions and finally see the biblical perspective on the subject matter of the day.
Today many people have a lot of questions and issues that go unresolved in many church Bible studies days. So they resort to the internet for answers. In this group we learn a lot from each other. Someone is ready to listen to their concerns; questions and answers are offered almost instantly. While are doing other things, we can still follow this discussion daily. The success of this group depends on the Holy Spirit and group administrator who set the direction daily. A good number of us have been encouraged to study God’s word daily.
There are great opportunities and possibilities in using mobile chat apps to do ministry on campuses, churches, across geographical locations and so on to connect with the lost, raise multiplying disciples who will in turn reach other people until everyone knows someone (face-to-face and on mobile) who truly follows Jesus.