Using the same technology as the missionaries tend to join others of their faith, they go beyond simple social networking.
An example of this method of preaching can serve as the idea of a 27-year-old American pastor Matt Souza, residing in Richmond, Virginia.
Souza uses video games and multilingual stremersch platform Twitch, to preach God. He is a gamer. Even when he graduated from Bible College North point in 2014 and began working as an assistant pastor in the Church of the assemblies of God in Oxford, CT, Souza had not ceased to play in the evenings and weekends. The priest tried to fight with his passion, but then, according to him, God gave him to understand that He loves him no matter what. Souza then decided that other gamers also needs to know God’s love. Soon he came upon the platform Twitch, which allows you to broadcast gaming, and in December 2014 for the first time I broadcast the games, while playing and talking about God.
Six months later, having regular viewers on the stream “the Pastor plays Halo”, Sousa began to think about creating an online Church for the gamers. In 2016 he implemented this idea. His Church is called the GodSquad (“Command of God”). According to analysts Twitch, as of July this year there were 1800 “congregation”, and its translation looks about 4 million viewers per week, and many of them define themselves as non-believers and enemies of religion. Sam Souza says that about a dozen new members join the God Squad on a weekly basis. Along with him works his wife Amanda, who had abandoned the service in a real Church. Now most of the time she models a chat room. They help about 50 volunteers.
Souza for hours every day translates to the audience their passing video games in a special professional games room funded from donations Twitch. In addition, he will proiznosit weekly sermon. During the games, he asks questions about Jesus and Christianity to the audience, it is always next to the Bible, to any gaming session, he must read the Scriptures. Souza teaches parishioners how to be good “Samaritans-gamers”: always thank the comrades in team games, not to swear and not to play Grand Theft Auto because there’s too much sex and violence. Users enter a chat room to discuss a personal challenge or to join certain channels to ask someone to pray for them. The channels are serviced at any time.
Souza argues that in this way he reaches the attention of people, the existence of which most pastors don’t know. He believes that gamers are not covered by the clergy social group. And if Christians believe that they should share God’s love with other people, how to share it with those who almost never leaves her house? The answer on all counts is to keep the gaming community.
However, the pastor is looking for ways to meet your virtual parishioners in real life. Currently, he is engaged in raising funds and repair the Church and gaming center in Richmond, where the congregation could play and where he preached, and hopes to eventually build more such centers across the country. Autumn Souza will go to the marriage of two parishioners in North Carolina. At the request of the couple he will be broadcasting the event on Twitch.
Pastor Souza chose a non-trivial way of spreading his faith, but his quest for new forms of mission with the use of technology is not unique. A study by the Barna Group, published in June and is dedicated to evangelization in the digital age, shows that among self-identified Christians 28% prefer to share my faith on social media. 30% of Christians say they are just as likely to share their religious beliefs in the Internet as in person. But 12% more likely to share their faith exclusively online. 31% of self-identified Christians tend to use digital technologies to convey their religion to non-Christians. 56% of non-Christians said that someone told them about my beliefs on Facebook, another 14% reported that they talked about faith in other social networks.
The researchers asked those who said the spread of his faith in social media, to clarify, what methods they prefer. 86% of adults surveyed say that their posts demonstrate their beliefs. This was stated by 91% of practicing Christians, 84% of non-practicing Christians and 77% of non-Christians. 85% of respondents make reposts of entries devoted to their religion, 83% of adults comment on other people’s posts or “walls” of the accounts on the basis of their religious views. Less believers indicate information about your religion in the profile – 54%. Also a minority – 30% of believers are committed to ensuring that profile picture showed their religious affiliation. Practicing Christians more than any other active against evangelism in social networks, while 44% of Christians said that digital technologies have changed the way for them to spread their beliefs.
In terms of differences in relation to the combination of evangelism and technologies among people of different ages, 64% of generation X (born in the 1960-1970-ies) announced that technology and digital interaction facilitated their sharing of faith – compared with 58% of Millennials (1981-2000) 39% baby boomers (those born in the postwar years). A significant number of respondents said that technology has made them more careful in how and when they share their faith with others. 64% of Millennials believe that today people tend to avoid spiritual conversations in reality, because too immersed in gadgets. This view is shared by 60% of gen X and 45% of baby boomers. The majority of the representatives of the three generations agree that as people are too busy with technology and phones, it is now much harder to talk face to face than in the past.