Conversation with Rob Fultz
As a result of the current pandemic, the church has opportunity like never before to do exponentially more while engaging the digital mission field. Churches have risen to the challenge and are express themselves digitally in a multitude of creative ways. This crisis has also made it urgently evident that churches must incorporate digital discipleship as part of their overall ministry strategy. On today’s episode of “Engaging the Digital Mission Field,” we talked with Lee University’s Campus Pastor, Rob Fultz, about ways that the church better engage the digital culture where they are … online.
“This Sunday is Easter Sunday, BILLIONS of people will hear the Gospel message – maybe for the first time – and most of them will have not ever or will not be in a church at the time they hear it. They’ll be sitting behind a computer screen just like we are now.” “I’d love to see a billion people saved this Sunday. (Rob Fultz)”
Churches must attempt to let go of fear that they can’t produce digital content that is on par with churches that have bigger budgets and better equipment. This doesn’t have to be a negative, as more and more, people want to see authenticity rather than a rehearsed, well-oiled performance. Fultz states that it is important to embrace, “the authenticity, or the rawness, of what you are actually doing.”
There is no right or wrong model for digital discipleship, so don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes. As Fultz said, “we’re in this very experimental stage of a digital mission field … we’re literally writing the book on this as we speak.” We will make mistakes as we learn, and therefore pastors should “give yourself the grace to fail.” By not allowing fear to prevent engagement, the digital minister will eventually find their niche.
Be Open to Reverse Mentorship
“Reverse mentoring is basically this idea that as a leader, you open yourself up to a level of discipleship and teaching that you cannot gain just by reading a book or collaborating with other leaders at your level. Innovation happens at the level of newness, of different ideas, of challenging the status quo” (Fultz).
“It’s an invitation that allows the leader to be trained, to be mentored by someone who knows something they don’t. That’s collaboration at its core. Reverse mentoring is allowing someone who knows more than you do about the platform you are using to help teach you and train you to use that platform to its utmost ability” (Fultz).
Allowing yourself to learn from reverse mentorship is like a missionary who goes to their new culture ready to listen and learn from that culture. This strategy often has a higher rate of success in obtaining its ultimate objectives.
Empower and Deploy Young Influencers
In the conversation, Bobby Lynch discussed how, you can find influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, who, on the surface, don’t look any different than the other celebrity influencers. But, when you look closely, you see that they are actually using this platform for evangelism. This mode of evangelism might make many pastors uncomfortable. How do we work through that tension?
Fultz pushed back with, “Tell me one place in scripture where Jesus said to be comfortable or normal? Of course, we’re going to push the envelope. Are we going to mess it up, probably. ……. I’m ok with pushing the envelope” (Fultz).
“If these young social influencers are willing to put themselves out there at risk to their followers, then as leaders, we need to be willing to come beside then and not crush what they are doing, but help craft and help shape so that their voice becomes one that is not only heard by a lot of people, but that is refined by the Spirit of God with the Gospel of Christ in terms of direction and where they’re headed. (Fultz)”
It’s ok that you will never have a voice with the group that they are influencing. You don’t need to. Instead use your influence with the leader or influencer of this group and empower them to use their social influence for the Gospel. This intergenerational partnership is on example of a true digital mission endeavor.
Evangelism and discipleship in digital mission field can seem overwhelming and daunting. However, the mindsets and practices as noted by Rob Fultz offer hope and help the challenges become more manageable. Authenticity, openness and empowering others place finishing the Great Commission within our grasp!