Discipleship with Skype::
Recently I overheard a new phrase from some of our overseas missionaries: “Skypleship.” Discipleship is happening in amazing, fruitful ever increasing ways through Skype – a software tool which allows people to talk face to face over the internet for free.
Skypleship is most likely happening right now, across many time zone and country boundaries. At a conference called MinistryNet – which our team sponsored several months ago, our staff in Central Asia shared how they have used Skypleship as a filtering strategy as well as a means to interact with disciples.
Several times a month, staff spend a half an hour or so searching for Skype contacts in particular cities (Skype users may choose to be “listed” in a directory of sorts, showing as much or little contact information as they wish – such as location). Like a phone book, once you find another Skype user you want to communicate with, you send a request to that person and, if they accept, you can just push the “CALL” button on Skype and then a chat, voice or video conversation is started. In several locations in Central Asia, staff find that Skype users contacted often will be interested to talk at least for a few minutes once they learn that the person on the other end is actually from his or her region. Staff ask a few questions about the person’s interests, including spiritual interests. According to the staff, a decent percentage of people indicate a desire to talk about God, sometimes even leading to a face to face appointment for coffee or tea.
Once a relationship is established, contacts indicating further interest in Jesus can be invited to join a 5 or 6 week topical discussion group via Skype. This discussion group is a Bible study of sorts.