Preparing the Soil in a Digital Age

In Adventist Record’s recent interview with Dr. Leigh Rice, leader of Discipleship Ministries at the South Pacific Division, a definition of discipleship was shared.

“A disciple is a person who in every way is becoming more like Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:15). So discipleship is the process of making better and more disciples. In the narrow sense we could say that mentoring is making better disciples and evangelism is making more disciples. But Jesus’ model of making disciples was very relational and this is perhaps the defining focus of discipleship. Disciples who make disciples, who make disciples—a disciple-making movement. Or as the parable in Mark 4 says, multiplying “30, 60 and even 100 times”.

In Mark 4, Jesus outlines five activities that are involved in making disciples.  The South Pacific Division has given more specific examples of how we can carry out each of the steps in our day-to-day lives, for example when Jesus encourages us to “prepare the soil” we are being encouraged to visit with people to connect.  This means listening to their story, visiting them when they’re sick and when they’re in need, like when they’re in prison.

Reviewing this document from the perspective of a digital disciple, we wondered how we could give further examples for how these activities might be applied in the digital space.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll share the details in our blog posts.  Let us know if there’s an additional activity you think should be added to the list.


(Please not that these steps are not a replacement to the original activities outlined but are being suggested as additions to the list.)

  • Reach out to your online community, especially on special occasions like birthdays, accomplishments, etc.  Let them know you’re fully invested in their lives.  Live out Romans 12:15
  • When you see someone online express sadness about a personal life challenge or excitement about something great that has happened, empathise with them.  Like the post, comment on it or send them a personal message to let them know you’re with them along the way.  Be consistent in your relationship building with them
  • Slowly introduce spiritual content onto your social media account, especially if it’s not something you typically do.  You want to continue to be your authentic self, who is evidently in relationship with Jesus.  If you previously posted cat pictures, don’t stop doing that now that you’ve decided to  be a disciple in the digital space.  If you love sharing pictures of your family, vacations or food, keep being who you are.
  • Share practical content, especially if it’s content that will “prepare the soil” and help you have conversations with people down the road.  Some examples are:
    • Relationship articles
    • Lifestyle content
      • The Table TV show is a good example of material that can be shared to “prepare the soil”
    • Healthy living
      • Videos showing healthy and delicious food being prepared
      • Recipes
      • Workout tips
      • How you’re making health changes in your life
      • Mental and emotional health tips 
  • Create opportunities to pray online
    • Potential ideas for this can include:
      • FB groups for prayer
      • Host a FB Live once per week that takes prayer requests and prays for them online
      • Message someone to say you’re praying for them and follow it up with an online prayer.

If you’d like to read about the discipleship process in its entirety as it relates to the digital space, check out our resource, “How Does Digital Discipleship Work?