By Kenneth James Bag-ao
At the dawn of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the entire world was placed on stand still. Establishments, business offices, and private companies, most of which that are operating in a non-essential category, were advised for a temporary closure. Even churches and mass gatherings are no longer allowed as everyone was advised to stay at home and observe social distancing. That places the movement of PSALM and other Christian groups in a more difficult situation to operate this year.
However, the fight for the Gospel in the campuses and marketplaces is never quarantined. The leadership understood that while we are limited to the digital spaces now, the time is not to be wasted to prepare this generation of leaders and missionaries for the New Normal. Thus, a series of Zoom meetings and Group Chats created to gather the best ideas on how we can continue the movement amidst the global pandemic.
Last June 25-27, the national movement of Philippine Student Alliance Lay Movement, Inc. (PSALM) held its first Digital Evangelism and Discipleship via Zoom that was attended by 65 PSALMistas. There were Student Leaders, Lay, Campus Missionaries and members of the National Board of Directors who participated on this 3-day event that hopes to kickstart the operations of PSALM in the New Normal. This jam-packed series included Digital Evangelism by the National Director Christer Luchavez covering the new ways we can share the Gospel using the digital spaces; Ms. Del Jane Nillos, a former Campus Missionary, spoke on Discipleship in Digital Generation including the Pros and Cons of Face-to-Face and Online platforms; and Mr. Kenneth James Bag-ao facilitated the 3rd topic on The Use of Digital Platforms such as Messenger Rooms, Google Meet and Zoom Videoconferencing. A month after the webinar, the National Office was able to record 33 evangelistic contacts and spiritual interests who were reached by the Gospel through the Digital Platforms. This strategy hopes to advance to the entire year providing support to the leaders who would progress in their evangelism and discipleship in the digital spaces.
Indeed, it is a very challenging endeavor for all religious sects, spiritual leaders, and Christian organizations to operate since spirituality requires a personal touch with the human beings like visitations, church services, and vis-à-vis Bible studies. Yet, we must learn to use the available weapon we hold in our hand. Time is changing, methods do change too, we—as Christ ambassadors of hope—should also be wise enough to adapt. Every change is difficult to grapple with, but we’ll get use to it by God’s grace. Digital platform of reaching out to people doesn’t necessarily replace the physical means, but is a new way of getting in touch with people beyond our place.
Whatever the means is, it will still bring us back to the motive of our hearts. It is not about any channel or platforms, but about our intentionality to obey The Great Commission that was given to us. In PSALM, it will continue to reach more and more students and lay wherever they are in this pandemic.