Reaching an Online Mission Field

Reaching an Online Mission Field

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On social media, in the midst of people’s Instagram feeds and Facebook timelines, Matt D. Brown sees a mission field.

The evangelist and author’s ministry organization, Think Eternity, places a strong emphasis on what it calls “digital missions.” The ministry’s various Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels now touch more than 2.5 million followers a day with Scripture verses, devotional articles, and videos.

Brown, 36, says the goal is to reach those who need to hear the good news, while encouraging Christians to build their lives around the gospel message.

“My theory of ministry is to go where you can reach people,” Brown says. “We really see that there’s a mission field online.”

The efforts are providing results. This past year, Brown says someone filled out a form on Think Eternity’s website form acknowledging he or she had come to Christ every 18 hours.

Brown formed Think Eternity 18 years ago, while a student at North Central University, the Assemblies of God school in Minneapolis. In the years since, he has spoken around the country and written or co-written eight books. Zondervan published his most recent book, Truth Plus Love: The Jesus Way to Influence, in April.

Brown and his wife, Michelle, live with their three children in Minneapolis and attend Emmanuel Christian Center. Brown says the church has played a major role in his personal story. Michelle’s grandfather, G. Mark Denyes, founded the church and her father, Dwight Denyes, is a former lead pastor.

The church is also where Brown first sensed God’s tug to become an evangelist. Though Brown had grown up in church, his specific calling crystalized when he visited the church for a youth convention at age 17.

“I began to cry, just seeking the Lord for my friends in high school who didn’t know Christ,” he says.

More personal confirmations followed, and Brown began speaking in churches while attending North Central. He graduated in 2005. Brown says using eternity as a reference point for the rest of his life struck him as a theme for the ministry.

Think Eternity’s outreach team now includes a half-dozen people. The website posts devotionals and weekly podcasts with evangelical leaders such as Christine Caine, Max Lucado, and Lee Strobel.

Digital missions is now about half of the ministry, according to Brown. The organization’s various social media channels reached an estimated 65 million people last year. Posts include sharable Bible verses, quotes from Christian ministers, posts on the website, and short gospel-oriented videos.

“Every day, like most ministers, I’m thinking, What am I seeing in the culture around me, and What does God want me to share?” Brown says.

When someone reaches out after accepting Christ, Think Eternity follows up by sending a nine-week email series explaining more about the faith and next steps. New converts also can request a Bible, a devotional, and a prayer card to be mailed to them. Think Eternity helps connect new converts with a local church.

Brown and others are now working to raise up other social media influencers around the world through the Digital Missions Collective.

Malachi A. O’Brien, 36, who works with Brown on Think Eternity’s digital mission arm, says the goal is to raise up “1,000 digital Billy Grahams.” The ministry works to connect those who apply to be part of the collective with each other, praying for them and providing them with resources on how to use their social media feeds to spread the gospel.

“The heart of it all is to just to encourage and to build up the next generation,” O’Brien says. “We’re trying to come alongside them and say, What can we do for you?

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