eWeek of Prayer—Social Media: A Tool to Be Embraced
There is a bracket of people that may not be reached by conventional means. There is a need for workers in God’s vineyard, “who, under the guidance of God, can put new life into the old methods of labor and can invent new plans and new methods of awakening the interest of church members and reaching the men and women of the world”—Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, 117, 1907. Old methods are not abandoned; instead, new life is injected into them. New methods, such as the use of technology, are also adopted.
As the Stewardship Ministries Department at West Zimbabwe Conference, we resolved to utilize technology as a means of reaching out to our young people who follow social media. One enormous task was to develop content that will keep them visiting our platforms. The plan of an electronic Week of Prayer was adopted. It did not replace the conventional seminars we hold, but it was a means to support the already existing methods. The eWeek followed the Holy Convocation, where people met either in zonal sections or churches. The Holy Convocation was organized and conducted by trained stewardship educators who followed lessons that had been prepared by the department.
As a build-up toward the eWeek of Prayer, scheduled to be held March 31 through April 6, we sent out online advertisements that included a promotional video and flyers to create awareness. Our platforms were as follows: Instagram, wzcstewardship; Facebook, West Zimbabwe Conference Stewardship Ministries; Twitter, wzcstewardship; and a WhatsApp number, +263774086070. Interested participants sent their names and contacts to the WhatsApp number.
As the week began, we had 2,186 participants registered on WhatsApp. When we concluded, we had 3,124 on the same platform. We sent video messages twice daily at 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (CAT). On Facebook, our highest post reached for the lessons was 2,700, and the lowest was 1,600. During that period, we earned 12,700 tweet impressions and 260 Twitter profile visits.
The focus of the eWeek of Prayer was Matthew 25:14–30. The speakers focused on the call for all to be faithful talent users and not preservers. The theme was Saving, Investing, and Partnering With Jesus. Many made commitments to be faithful stewards. We’ve scheduled a day on Facebook to answer questions that arose from the presentations.
The week proved fruitful because we got engagements even from people who are non-Adventists. They appreciated the video presentations. We learned that the church should not shun the use of media and information technology. We got to minister to people we would not have ministered to had we stuck to the usual means of service.