International (MNN) — Social media is transforming how some ministry organizations connect. SAT-7, a satellite TV ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, uses social media to build relationships with viewers.
“We [are on] Facebook. So you’re watching a program and you have a question, you have a comment, a viewer can get on Facebook [and] ask questions. People interact with them and it’s in real time. It’s not like you have to wait weeks and weeks for your answer,” SAT-7’s Vice President for Ministry Partnerships Dennis Wiens explains.
“I think the value of Facebook is just incredible for a ministry like SAT-7. I think we have 1.9 million Facebook [users] that are friends with SAT-7. You think of the networks that those 1.9 million people represent.”
Social Media Benefits
Millions of people across the globe have access to social media. To help engage viewers, SAT-7 has specific social media initiatives regarding the content it delivers through uncensored satellite TV.
By answering viewers’ questions through social media, SAT-7 is helping people process what they learn.
“For example, we broadcast live church services from Turkey or [the] Middle East or North Africa. As people watch that, probably over half of our viewership are not necessarily Christian. But, they’re curious,” Wiens shares.
“They’re drawn to what they see in the Christians. They’re drawn to these positive values. They’re drawn to the hope of the Gospel that they see in a Christian’s lifestyle.”
These curious people directly connect through social media, text, email, and other platforms to get a response while building a relationship with SAT-7. However, social media is not only useful in the MENA region.
In the West, SAT-7 uses social media for development. Through social media, SAT-7 boosts awareness, prayer support, and can even raise resources. SAT-7 currently has developmental social media platforms in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and even Brazil.
Encouraging the MENA Church
Still, social media does not always get a good rep, but people across the world have access to social media and texting. In places where Bibles cannot be purchased at a local store, social media may be the only Christian resource available.
“As you look around the world, many people may never meet another Christian. Many do not have a church to go to. We are their church. We can broadcast, we can deliver church through social media platforms,” Wiens says.
“I think if you want to be critical of a certain methodology, keep it in the context that you understand it, but don’t limit that to somebody across the world who has no other Christian resources. Don’t take their only resource away from them, which might be Facebook or WhatsApp or Telegram or SAT-7 broadcasts.”
Would you help SAT-7 continue to reach people? Wiens asks that you would join in on what God is doing in the MENA region by praying. Pray for this area and the Christians, churches, and pastors there. Learn about the MENA Church and then advocate for it. Share your findings with friends.
Finally, consider financially supporting SAT-7, hosting a SAT-7 event, and more.
“In church, we hear a lot of times about closed countries. There’s no such thing because there are no boundaries anymore. Social media has taken away historic obstacles…of sharing messaging.”
(Header photo courtesy of Jason Howie via Flickr)