When many people think of a “mission field,” they think of remote or challenging physical places. Yet a group of churches that received a 2022 Equipping the Local Church Grant made the challenging online spaces of TikTok and YouTube their mission field.
Pastor Michael Madden with the Sangamon River District Digital Discipleship Plan is one of the familiar faces behind a series of videos that seeks to provide accurate, understandable, and easily accessible information about the Gospel on the internet and social media, specifically TikTok and YouTube. Unlike many content creators on these social media channels, which can be divisive or hostile to certain groups of people, the “Teach Me About Jesus” series bridges the context between the Old Testament scriptures and the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, to spread a message of hope, love, grace, and peace to those who desperately need it.
Their typical TikTok audience is 61% male with 87% 44 years old or younger, and YouTube subscribers are 63% male with 76% age 44 or younger – a group that is largely missing from physical churches which tend to be made up of a majority of females and older adults. The grant has allowed the Gospel message to reach a different group of people that typically don’t attend a Sunday morning worship service.
This grant has opened the door for us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with so many people we would not normally reach. It has also given us insight that, perhaps, the [traditional] church (in our contexts) is not the avenue through which most of these populations will [first] experience Christ.Pastor Michael Madden
These videos, posted daily, provide seven opportunities a week to not just share the hope-filled message of Jesus’ love and forgiveness, but for interaction and connection. Often, subscribers ask for prayers or encouragement through the comments section.
Pastor Madden recalls one interaction with a subscriber who said the videos had encouraged them to continue reading the Bible, specifically delving into the Psalms which was the focus of the daily posts at that time. The subscriber said that the content and discussion was helping them to continue their daily Bible reading journey.
Initially, the goal for the project was to help people deepen their faith, but this group of churches has realized that the videos are the first step of faith awareness and development for many people. They plan to build on what they have learned and will launch a podcast later this year to make the experience more interactive for subscribers, allowing them to ask questions or comment live. Recordings of the “Teach Me About Jesus” podcast will be made available on YouTube to help more curious people find the content and connect with the caring community that’s behind it.
When asked about the grant’s impact, Pastor Madden shared, “…this grant has created the opportunity to speak to several different groups of people with whom our churches do not regularly interact. Secondly, this grant has given us the resources to reach another audience missing from our physical churches… It has also given us insight that, perhaps, the [traditional] church (in our contexts) is not the avenue through which most of these populations will [first] experience Christ. ” But they’ll see a glimpse of who Jesus is when they connect with this community reaching out in an unusual and challenging (online) place.
To learn more about this grant initiative and watch videos in the “Teach Me About Jesus” series go to: