28 March | Tirana, Albania [Sarah Dornelis]
On March 20th and 21st, Albanian Mission pastors and leaders participated in digital evangelism training. Leading the training were Adventist Word Radio (AWR) representatives, pastor Kent Sharpe and Michael Dant, who also took opportunity to share about the AWR Digital Missionary evangelism application. During the two-day training, participants learnt new skills to put digital evangelism into practice, and were inspired by success stories from around the world.
The AWR Digital Missionary App is an evangelism chat app, currently used in over 20 countries, with more countries adopting every week. From this platform, ‘Digital Missionaries’ (the name given to Adventist members and pastors who use the application) can chat directly via text and audio with contacts on other chat platforms, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, Signal and Facebook messenger. Additionally, Digital Missionary can easily send Bible studies to contacts, mark the responses and provide helpful feedback.
The app also features an automated prayer list, reminders, team management features, and an integrated searchable ‘knowledge base’. Dant, the app developer, explains commented how this powerful tool, in the hands of laypeople, as well as pastors and other leaders, could lead to wonderful results, “The Digital Missionary, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is ready to ﬂood the Internet and social media with good news of Jesus.”
Albania’s ﬁrst team of digital missionaries is excited and ready to begin! With the application in the ﬁnal process of being translated into Albanian, Bárbara Elen, a member of the digital missionaries team, believes that through this app she will make “connections and friendships with new people, demonstrating the love of Jesus to them through empathy, intercessory prayer and Bible studies”. Pastor Delmar Reis, president of the Albania Mission, explains that this tool will be very useful for evangelism in the country. “I see it as a project where all members can get involved and is a way of helping them connect with new people, meet their needs, pray for them, gain their trust, and ﬁnd opportunities to introduce Jesus!”.
As Dant explains, “digital evangelism is relatively new, but it is already being applied in places like South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, and Croatia, among others. Albania is a country that is in a process of rapid economic and social development, and the need to innovate our evangelistic approach is increasing.”
Pastor Markelian Frashëri, Bible Correspondent School Coordinator, believes this approach will allow them to connect with people in ways that traditional evangelism methods could not. “I believe that there are people of peace who seek the truth, but there are diﬀerent challenges that prevent them from committing to God. So my hope is that through this project these people can ﬁnd an easier pathway to God.”
“We are a small field, and with their experience (AWR’s) we hope to see more and more people in Albania, knowing more about God and studying the Bible”, concluded Reis, highlighting the strategic value of this partnership.
[Photos: Sarah Dornelis Henke/Adventist Media Exchange CCBY40]