WHY DID YOUR TEAM START USING FACEBOOK?
Most of us have been living here for a few years, doing business, teaching and sharing our faith with any Muslim neighbours who want to listen. There are a few scattered believers here but still no church in our region. Just over a year ago we began hearing stories from other Frontiers teams who were using Facebook ads and finding many ‘seekers’ in their cities. No one on our team is particularly techie but we decided to learn how it’s done and give it a try.
HOW DID YOU BEGIN?
After some basic training we set up a Facebook page called, ‘The Way of the Messiah’. We then paid to advertise on Facebook. These ads reach people only in our city - anyone interested in Jesus or the Injil (Gospels) is directed to our page. We post simple content here, such as photos of our country with Bible verses in Arabic. People can like, share and comment on our posts.
HOW DO YOU FOLLOW UP WITH PEOPLE WHO VIEW YOUR PAGES?
The first stage is done using a ‘chat bot’ we created, which automatically interacts with visitors to our page. It asks, ‘Do you want to know more about who Christ is?’ At this point around 50% leave or send an insulting message. 6 This is OK because we’re looking for those who are genuinely interested in knowing more. When they show interest they are automatically sent a verse each day and invited to do a simple Bible study. They can continue until they opt out. A lot of people do opt out after a while, but it’s a filter for us to find a particular type of person.
WHAT TYPE OF PEOPLE ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
We’ve designed this to find ‘people of peace’; those who are not only We’ve designed this to find ‘people of peace’; those who are not only interested in the topic but are also sharing with others. They’re easy to spot because the bot asks them ‘Who in your neighbourhood needs to hear this?’ The bot then asks what response they got from their neighbours. Digitally it’s easy to find out who is passing it on.
AT WHAT POINT DO THEY BEGIN INTERACTING WITH A HUMAN?
After early communications with the bot we have digital responders; people who chat online with seekers before we offer to meet with them. A church in another city saw the great need in our region and sent a local believer to bring the gospel here. We became friends and he’s keen to work with us in doing face to face follow up. Like us, he has a big vision to make disciples and start house churches that multiply.
WHAT RESPONSE HAVE YOU HAD?
After a few test runs hundreds of people have begun reading passages of scripture on our pages. We also put together some videos about hope in a time of Coronavirus. These went viral. Last time I looked we had 250,000 views in our region and 5,000 people had shared them. One particular man is studying all the material there is. He’s done 4-5 weeks of Bible study and is sharing with his neighbours. He’s now in touch with our local co-worker for follow up. We believe he could be a ‘man of peace’.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
There’s so much potential for this to grow but because of our jobs we can only be involved part time. However, we're planning on training a local believer how to use the bot. Once he is ready we are going to place ads covering the entire south of our country in order to find more people of peace. That's very exciting!