by Ben Jones of Missional Generation
A year ago we were heading into the first lockdown from this pandemic.
I think we will all agree that the impact of this pandemic on both our personal lives and within the Church was far greater than we would have anticipated in March 2020. It forced us to rethink our ways of connecting and communicating with others and we saw new innovations helping us. Who could now imagine life without zoom meetings?
In what has been a difficult season, we can celebrate the innovation that has been seen across the life of the Church in striving to create ways to continue mission and evangelism in a new way and disciple those within the church family.
We can collectively celebrate the new believers across all the generations who now have a personal relationship with Jesus due to connecting to Church through social media, YouTube and live streamed services that have been set up in response to the pandemic. It hasn’t been easy. None of us would have chosen the circumstances. But, without a doubt, the hope of Jesus, the good news of the Gospel has been shared in new ways over the pandemic.
We have seen youth and children’s leaders developing new hybrid models of provision to connect with children, young people and families in their care. Seeing them doing detached doorstep work, whilst creating innovative online expressions of connectivity, worship and evangelism.
Mark 16:15 tells us that Jesus said to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. I believe that this includes the digital world. Gen Z is known as the digital generation and we know that the digital generation use devices and the smartphone to click, swipe and tap for their information and connectivity with the world. It is for this reason that Missional Generation looked to create new digital ways of exploring faith, mission and evangelism. We have seen that digital evangelism can lead to discipleship that leads to mission.
At the start of the pandemic, we had to stop, reflect and seek God as to how innovation could be used to help children, young people and families to explore faith in Jesus at this uncertain time. At a time of worry and uncertainty, we wanted to provide something that would speak of the unchanging truth and hope that Jesus offers each of us. This led us to create an Easter Augmented Reality activity that can be used in the home using a smart device to explore the truth and hope we find in Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection. It brings alive scenes of the cross and resurrection using AR and has accompanying crafts and discussions. It was a joy to provide this to families across the country knowing that our ‘normal’ ways of sharing the truth and joy of Easter were not possible due to the pandemic.
We’d love to share this with you to use this Easter. Perhaps share it with someone you know as a way of letting them know about the gift Jesus offers each of us through his death and resurrection. Visit https://www.missionalgen.co.uk/easter-interaction/ to find out more. Download the app, hold your phone over the card (see at the bottom of the post) and trigger the AR scene.
We have been excited to partner with Thy Kingdom Come (both last year and this year) to create Augmented Reality resources for children. This year, it includes a collaboration with the fantastic Cheeky Pandas band to bring Augmented Reality fun, interaction and worship for children into the 11 days of prayer. We want to see a love of digital being used to draw children, young people and the wider Church into the presence of God.
Digital should never replace connectivity and being together ‘in person’ within the Church, rather we see digital as a crucial means of enhancing faith exploration. The emerging generation feel a connection with digital innovation and so if we, as the church, are to strengthen our voice and be at the cutting edge of society we need utilize these new digital developments however that might look in the future. We need to keep asking, how can we take hold of this innovation to truly connect with the emerging generation in exploring and sharing faith?