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Digital evangelism making an impact in the Middle East

eHarmony for people who want to change their religion

Throughout history, God has used human weakness for his glory. That was the case for a OneWay staff member when God took his struggle with bad handwriting and used it to prepare him for international ministry.

When he was a child, OneWay’s digital evangelist, Sparrow,* had such poor handwriting that his teachers couldn’t grade his assignments. To help with this, Sparrow’s parents bought him a laptop to use for school, making him among the first people in his community to have one. As he grew in his skills, Sparrow developed a passion for technology, but he didn’t know how to channel it into his passion for missions. 

As a young adult, Sparrow was working as a missionary in Mexico when he first received a calling into digital evangelism. As he participated in a church conference, a Pentecostal woman whom he had never met told him that God had given him a talent for computers and that God was calling him to use information systems to spread the gospel.

“After she moved on to the next person, I cried,” Sparrow said, “because it felt like God knew me and had a plan for my life. I had been serving Him as best I knew how, but had never realized that I could take my hobby and passion for technology, and use that to serve him.”

Today, Sparrow works with a large network of missionaries and ministries all over the Arab world as a digital evangelist. He uses Facebook and Google ads to reach out to people in the Middle East who are questioning their faith and connect them with local believers who can answer their questions about Christianity. 

“I'm seeing about two people a day who are reaching out to us asking for help becoming Christians,” Sparrow said. “That's amazing!”

So what exactly is digital evangelism? Sparrow describes it as “eHarmony for people who want to change their religion.”

“The internet is where people research private and sensitive topics, like how to change your religion,” Sparrow said. “People in the Middle East start by searching for the Bible, but what they're really looking for is how to become a Christian.”

Sparrow creates advertisements that offer answers to the questions people ask when they are curious about Christianity. When a person clicks on one of those ads, Sparrow connects them in a private conversation with a local missionary. From there, the local missionary can share the gospel and offer in-person discipleship.

Like street evangelism, digital evangelism works to put out the message of the gospel to as many people as possible. But while street evangelism involves passing out tracts, digital evangelism uses social media and ads to reach across the internet for potential believers.

“Online evangelism and street evangelism are more similar than most people realize,” Sparrow said. “What we're doing on the internet is not something new, or something radically different. It's the same thing, just at a faster pace because we can contact more people.”

The light of Christ can overcome any darkness, including that of the digital landscape. Sparrow compared this modern technology to how early believers used the Roman roads to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

“God has His fingers all over the development of technology,” Sparrow said. “I think that it was God's idea to use information systems to get the gospel out. We need to have the gospel on the internet.”

Sparrow’s prayer is that God would bring more people into ministry through digital evangelism.

“When a missionary in our network has a crisis or leaves the field, I see messages going unanswered,” Sparrow said. “Almost every week, I see people asking for help becoming Christians, and I see that there aren't enough people to walk with them.”

Pray that God would grow OneWay’s digital evangelism ministry to help people reach people in the Arab world. 

*Name changed for security


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