Last month Church United hosted a special gathering with Mart Green, of Hobby Lobby, and technologist Ben Elmore, of Intevity, to discuss the changing landscape of missional engagement and the unprecedented evangelistic opportunity that stands before the churches of our region. Mart Green reminded the pastors and ministry leaders in attendance that the opportunity in front of the Church requires a united, collective impact and held up Church United as a national model and example of collaborative impact for gospel advancement. Ben Elmore gave practical insight into how technology is impacting our missional front door. and that while churches have many options for the use and embracing of technology, the only thing that isn’t an option is to ignore innovation and do nothing at all.
The fundamental reality that the event and Church United as a movement sought to underscore was that “the world in front of the Church looks nothing like the world behind it.” In the words of Ben Elmore, “If you’re wondering why everything feels so differently so suddenly, you’re not alone. We’re in a confluence of technological advancement, a historic global event, and monumental shifts in faith seeker’s expectations. Things that worked before, suddenly don’t. The uncertainties of the future are with us day-to-day. Everywhere a leader turns, they’re faced with disruption. Welcome to the age of “digital transformation.” But what if that was a good thing? Disruption is, after all, the fuel of transformation. If the Church really does stand before one of the greatest missional moments of recent history, a few things are clear: we need a different type of Church, a different type of leader, and a different level of gospel collaboration.
A commitment to collaboration
We know that change in this next season won’t come through another expert, another conference, or another mission statement or committee meeting. We believe that change happens in the context of trusted relationships among diverse voices with a commitment to collaboration. It’s time to fight for unity, unleash uncommon generosity, and pray our way into a new future – one that gleans from the past and charts a course for the future.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few,” has taken on fresh meaning in this new season. With the successful launch of Gloo Connect – the platform powering the local church engagement in Church United’s participation in digital evangelistic campaign efforts of He Gets Us and Churches Care in the region, these historic, first-of-their-kind digital evangelism efforts are previewing the new missional frontier and evangelistic opportunities ahead of the Church.
What is “He Get’s Us” and “Churches Care” all about?
He Gets Us
He Gets Us is a campaign designed to create cultural change in the way people think about Jesus and his relevance in their lives. The campaign seeks to create opportunities for people to take a fresh look at the “real” Jesus and consider his radical teachings and claims documented in the Bible. It’s creating opportunities for those exploring faith to be open and approachable, so everyone feels comfortable asking questions, including the difficult ones. The goal is for people to see that Jesus isn’t some irrelevant historical figure who doesn’t relate to them in the modern world. He has experienced every human frailty and vulnerability. He’s for everyone. He has the answers to life’s most pressing problems. He understands us. He “gets us.” Since the beginning of 2022, He Gets Us ads have been viewed over 61 million times nationally via TV and YouTube commercials.
Churches Care takes a more localized approach and runs social media and google ads that address regional hotspot felt needs like relationship and marital issues, stress, loneliness and mental health. The campaign seeks to facilitate introductions for those responding to ads towards the nearest participating church or ministry in order for them to take a next step to connect with someone local. Since the beginning of the year, over 1,700 people have connected with a local church in responding to ads in South Florida.
We believe these campaigns are only the beginning. However, like any new terrain, the need for skilled cartographers to chart a pathway forward is paramount to the terrain’s successful navigation and development. Digital evangelism and missional engagement are uncharted territories for the vast majority of local churches in South Florida and across our nation. The world that local pastors were trained and ordained for simply doesn’t exist anymore. However, rather than reverting back to what we were trained for or what has worked in the past, what if we came together to navigate this new frontier together? After all, the way forward requires uncommon unity, collaboration, humility and prayer.
If you’re a local pastor we invite you to take the next step and join us in this collaborative movement to own the lostness of our region and demonstrate faith, hope and love together with other gospel-believing churches. Church United exists to invest in the spiritual health of local pastors, missional health of local churches and social health of our region – a task that’s beyond any single local church, leader or organization. If the way forward requires a new type of church, leader and unity then we need (more than ever before) healthy leaders, leading healthy churches, for the flourishing of our city. Join us. We need you. South Florida needs you.
Edwin Copeland serves as the Director of Church United with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida where he works to unify the Church through collaboration and celebration to see faith, hope, and love spread throughout South Florida. To learn more about Church United, visit churchunitedfl.com
Read more articles by Edwin Copeland at: goodnewsfl.org/author/edwincopeland/