Perhaps you’ve heard of Facebook? There are only about 2.9 billion people using it. There are some 2.5 billion users on YouTube and Instagram too, plus hundreds of millions on Twitter, Twitch, and TikTok. You may not see it, but these platforms each encapsulate an audience uniquely receptive to the power of evangelization. But that power must be seized, crafted, tailored, and expertly expressed by dedicated and talented individuals.
The Word on Fire Institute has partnered with MAX Studios at University of St. Thomas – Houston to create a novel video series delving into the work of four evangelists successfully harnessing new media. They share their experiences and discuss how to better use social media to evangelize, emphasizing that success is only achieved by genuinely presenting themselves and their sincere love of Jesus.
We meet Leah Darrow, former professional model and founder of the Lux app, focusing on prayer and formation for Catholic women. After a powerful conversion back to the Catholic faith, she is now a speaker, author, entrepreneur, wife, and mother of six. She has built an online community of 79,000 Facebook followers that embrace her genuine nature and love of faith, culture, and beauty. She thinks of each unique follower, saying, “Everything you post, you’re talking to one person and they are listening to you on their phone when they can’t sleep at 2 a.m. So what are you going to say to them?”
Jonathan Blevins is the founder of the Bearded Blevins Stream Team on Twitch. He is also the founder and CEO of Little Flower Media Company and a Catholic husband and father of three. Jonathan has built a positive community, presenting the good in gaming for his 44,000 followers on the platform.
Singer-songwriter Fr. Rob Galea has made a series of recordings and CDs and maintains an international following of 73,000 subscribers on YouTube. He moved to Australia from Malta and currently serves a Catholic priest in Victoria’s Sandhurst diocese. His followers enjoy his personability and warmly relate to him and his love of faith as they relish his songs and homily videos.
The hilarious and witty Haley Stewart, a convert to Catholicism, is an author, podcaster, speaker, and the managing editor of Word on Fire’s new children’s publishing line, Word on Fire Spark. She is also a mother of four and the wife of her distiller husband. With her 17,000 Instagram followers, she discusses her Catholic faith with zeal. She champions the power of social media, saying, “The Church needs all of us and the Church needs you. So when you’re sharing things about who you are on social media, that’s significant and it’s going to reach someone.”
Each episode featuring these online evangelists tells a story that shakes our very understanding of social media. We may already know these platforms, but this series allows us to explore their breathtaking evangelizing expanse from behind the curtain. As people of faith, these modern, ubiquitous social media tools have the express ability to share the faith globally, bringing the light of the Gospel to every screen and through every earbud.