Literature Evangelism in the Modern Era
Sharing the gospel with others is a vital part of the Christian faith. One of the most effective ways to share the gospel is through literature evangelism. Literature evangelism involves sharing the gospel through written materials such as books, pamphlets, and tracts. As Seventh-day Adventists, our church heritage has shown us how effective it is to evangelize in print form. We can trace our literature evangelism heritage to the Adventist Review, The Steps to Christ, and others, but in our current cultural climate that seems to be trending to a forgotten pastime.
In the modern era, can literature evangelism include utilizing digital platforms and technology to share written materials? We believe it can, and that is why we use it.
The Importance of Literature Evangelism
Literature evangelism has been a part of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church's outreach efforts for over a century. We began with our efforts in 1849 with the "Present Truth" which eventually became the Adventist Review. Literature evangelism is an important aspect of sharing the gospel with others. The written word has the power to inspire, educate, and transform lives. It is a powerful tool for evangelism that can be used to reach people who might not be open to other forms of outreach.
Ellen White, one of the founders of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, recognized the importance of literature evangelism. In her book Counsels on Health, she wrote, "Our publications are to be scattered like the leaves of autumn." This statement emphasizes the importance of spreading the message of the gospel far and wide, using any means necessary. Literature evangelism is a powerful tool for doing just that.
The Transition to Online Platforms
The modern era has brought about a shift in the way people communicate and access information. With the rise of the internet and social media, more and more people are turning to digital platforms to find information and connect with others. This shift has had a significant impact on the way that literature evangelism is done.
Today, churches can use a variety of digital platforms to share written materials and other forms of media with people all over the world. Social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube can be used to reach people where they are and share the message of the gospel with them. For example, a church might create a YouTube channel where they post videos that share the gospel in a creative and engaging way. They might also use Instagram to share images and quotes that inspire people to learn more about the Christian faith.
The Benefits of Literature Evangelism in the Modern Era
There are many benefits to using literature evangelism in the modern era. Here are just a few:
1. Reach a Wider Audience
Digital platforms allow churches to reach a wider audience than ever before. With the click of a button, a church can share written materials and other forms of media with people all over the world. This allows them to share the gospel with people who might not have had access to it otherwise.
2. Engage People in Creative Ways
Digital platforms also provide churches with new and creative ways to engage people. For example, a church might create a TikTok account where they post short videos that share the gospel in a fun and engaging way. They might also use Instagram to share images and stories that inspire people to learn more about the Christian faith.
With the just the right touch, you can add a little Jesus in a realm dominated by Satan.
3. Build Relationships
Digital platforms also allow churches to build relationships with people in a way that was not possible before. By sharing written materials and other forms of media on social media platforms, churches can connect with people and begin to build relationships with them. This can lead to deeper conversations about faith and ultimately, lead people to a closer relationship with God.
4. Allows for Personalized and Targeted Outreach
With the ability to track and analyze online engagement data, churches can better understand their audience's interests and needs. This knowledge can then be used to create and distribute literature that speaks to specific demographics, making the outreach more effective and impactful. This can result in a greater number of conversions and a stronger sense of community within the church.
Our Literature Evangelism Efforts at the Hemet Seventh-day Adventist Church
Our efforts here at the Hemet Seventh-day Adventist Church is a multifaceted approach. Every other week our Community Services holds a food distribution on Wednesdays. Often we hand out pamphlets and bibles. Our Pathfinder Club occasionally does community outreach events, where literature is also handed out.
However, our recent approach has expanded beyond our local community. With our website we have been able to reach to 175 countries with our sermons in just a 6 month span. That is 175 potential spots of evangelism that may never had occurred. The people we have reached possibly never left their home in the course of their interaction. Our only way of communication is our site, Youtube, and their computer/phone.
Now we realize that there are issues with TikTok and that it can be pulled at any moment. Until then, we will evangelize in a dark place. Over half of Americans have a TikTok account. There are 1.53 billion accounts in the world. One post can easily go viral and be exposed to millions. In the span of our two month old TikTok account we have been able to witness to countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and the Philippines. We've had prayer requests by people we've never met on the opposite side of the world. Tens of thousands of people have viewed our posts. If only 1 person was brought to Christ, then it was worth it.
We have an obligation to reach people in the form of communication that people use. That includes being a light in dark places.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NASB 1995)
Literature evangelism is an important aspect of sharing the gospel with others. In the modern era, this means utilizing digital platforms and technology to share written materials and other forms of media with people all over the world. By doing so, churches can reach a wider audience, engage people in creative ways, and build relationships that can lead to deeper conversations about faith and a closer relationship with God.
As Ellen White said, "Our publications are to be scattered like the leaves of autumn." Let us continue to spread the message of the gospel far and wide through literature evangelism, utilizing the tools available to us in the modern era.
"Counsels on Health" by Ellen G. White
"Why Literature Evangelism?" by Jerry D. Thomas, Adventist Review
"Literature Evangelism Today" by Mark Finley, Adventist Review
"Why Social Media is Essential for Evangelism" by Steve Case, Christianity Today