Making Disciples Using Technology

by

Bryan Craig

Technology is making the world a smaller place.  Just look at how easy it is to connect with people everywhere via smart phones, social media, video chats, etc.  I remember a time when you couldn’t have a long-distance relationship because it cost too much to make a phone call.  My how times have changed.

We believe God is going to use technology to help Influencers reach the world for Him!  For many years, we have been using video conferencing technology to connect our staff, who live all over the country.  And as we were praying about how we are going to take The Journey process to new cities where we don’t have a presence, an idea was birthed.  What if we had a “Virtual Journey Group?”  What if we had a Journey group with men from all over the country, all connected via videoconference technology?  Could this be a way to raise up new leaders in new cities and successfully transfer our DNA?

So, Tom Seay, our Regional Director for Northwest Arkansas, and I set out last Fall to try this idea.  First, we tested different videoconferencing platforms and settled upon Zoom technology.  Then, we put the word out to all of you and asked for nominations of your friends and family who lived in remote cities with no Influencers.  The names came flooding in, and we quickly saw high interest level in what we were doing.  After our introductory meetings over the Journey to the Inner Chamber, we ended up with 10 hungry men, plus Tom and myself, going on The Journey together, and meeting every other week on a computer screen.  We have men from California, Kansas, Michigan, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Delaware, Costa Rica and Malaysia.

We wondered if the experience would be hindered via technology, but amazingly, we have seen one of the strongest, most committed, Journey groups I’ve ever led.  The technology has not hindered the sharing, vulnerability, or transparency of the men; in fact, some think it has enhanced it.

You may be wondering how you do the Retreats virtually?  For our first Prayer Retreat, we connected on-line at 7:00 in the morning on a Saturday, gave them instructions and then signed off, as each of them went to their own retreat location for the Prayer time.  They came back on at 11:00 AM for us to have a debriefing time.  I saw some of the same great results I’ve seen in a normal group.  Last weekend, we did our 2nd Extended Prayer Session, as we gathered on-line to affirm the men in their spiritual gifts.  Again, it was a beautiful, edifying experience.  The men had their own extended prayer time afterwards.  For Commencement, almost all the men are going to travel to our National Summit a day early so we can gather in person for the grand finale.

Because of this Virtual Journey Group, not only did God help us reach 10 men who might not have been reached otherwise, but now we have 10 new Champions who will hopefully lead Journey groups in their cities.  As a matter of fact, 3 of our men are already starting groups.

Incidentally, a woman from India who lives in Northwest Arkansas is leading a group of 7 women from her home country through The Journey via Zoom videoconferencing.  And Regina Sewell, from Northwest Arkansas, and Nicole Thompson, from Memphis, have hooked up to lead a Virtual Women’s Journey Group with women from all over the U.S.

Just like everything else we’ve experienced with Influencers as God shows us new ways to use The Journey, we believe He’s proven to us that we should not limit His possibilities.  This Virtual Journey Group has opened our eyes to look at the Harvest field in a different way.

We pray more Virtual Groups will start with some of you doing the same thing we did.  We also ask all of you to think outside of the box the next time you lead a Journey group.  Consider inviting people God puts on your heart who may live in other cities, even if most of your group meets in one place.  Also, use Zoom to bring in members of your group when they are traveling.

Be praying about all of this, and if you want to learn more, send me an email at [email protected].

We will also have a special session at our National Summit during Saturday afternoon all about the Virtual Journey Group, and you’ll get a chance to meet some of the men who participated.

Jesus told us to Go to all the world and make disciples and now, Influencers is Zooming to get there quicker.