Digital Front Page Evangelism

Dave Malnes (Meridian, Idaho USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Dave Malnes is the president of Praise and Proclaim Ministries, a WELS-affiliated parasynodical Gospel ministry based in Idaho. He has served for over twenty years as a certified WELS staff minister in evangelism and outreach. Praise and Proclaim partners with Wisconsin Evangelical Luthera Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Synod congregations to provide comprehensive evangelism training. Since 2016, Dave has trained over 1,000 members in fifty-three congregations and twenty-one states. Outreach initiatives are designed to increase lay participation in personal evangelism and prospect follow-up activities.

The arrival of Covid-19 has changed the dynamic of evangelism.

Many congregations had to scramble when people were not allowed to gather in public settings. Live streaming of worship services or taped messages were loaded onto a website and members faithfully viewed them at home. The digital world was embraced, and churches will not be letting go of this invaluable form of communication.

Communicating the gospel through the internet — digital evangelism — has now become an important component for every congregation to adopt to help spread the Word.

In response to this changing dynamic, Praise and Proclaim now includes a strong digital evangelism component with every outreach initiative. We help congregations construct digital platforms to give reasons for the hope that believers have in Christ. The pastor(s) at each congregation produce a short three-to-four-minute video and provide a call-to-action to learn more. A digital advertising (Facebook, Instagram) campaign is launched to people in their community and members are trained how to use digital evangelism for their personal witness. Through a link to the digital platform (or landing page), members can apply Praise and Proclaim's methodology to gain an audience and plant seeds of the gospel.

A participating congregation is provided with this link that helps them walk through the digital evangelism process. It includes a video that explains the campaign and a list of next steps.

Every congregation has the freedom and opportunity to create messages and produce videos that best fit their production capability and comfort levels.

Here are examples of the most recent landing pages that Praise and Proclaim constructed for congregations during their outreach initiative:

A call-to-action on the landing page provides an opportunity for people to learn more. Through registering to receive more information or to download an e-book, a person's email address is collected for further follow-up. A series of automated emails is produced and sent out via Mail Chimp with the ultimate goal of inviting a person to attend a Bible information class.

Additional resources:

Subscribe to Praise and Proclaim email newsletter

A Praise and Proclaim in-depth webinar with three panelists about how to launch a digital evangelism campaign. [Note: To access the webinar, a person needs to provide name and email address.]

Contact Dave Malnes
President, Praise and Proclaim Ministries

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Noah Konz (Bethany Lutheran College) 2021-10-18 8:20:37pm
I've always realized that the way God's message would broadcasted has always changed (unless it's the bible.) With that being said, do you see online churches as the new thing to spread God's message, or will everything be business as usual? Because on one hand the way God's word has been spread has changed a lot over time, on the other hand it makes more sense to keep churches public for however long. Thanks for the insight.
David Malnes (Presenter) 2021-10-19 12:10:33am
Hi Noah. I do not see online churches emerging as replacing on-site churches. I believe there will always be a gathering place of believers to worship, encourage, and receive the Word and sacraments. What is drastically changing are the methods to communicate the gospel and entry points for unbelievers to hear and learn the Word. I think this requires a shift of thinking. Perhaps as we enter into a post-Christian society, churches ought to adjust our evangelism strategies by not focusing primarily on inviting people to come to worship on Sunday to hear the Word -- but provide other vehicles -- both in-person and on-line -- to teach people what Christ has already done for us. This can include on-line tools to spread the Word as a supplement for the ongoing activity of an on-site Church.
Pr. Luke Ulrich (Mt. Olive Lutheran ) 2021-11-02 3:07:52pm
Thanks Dave! I appreciate this encouragement and the examples for landing sights are great. The Praise & Proclaim program that you led us through at our church was so helpful in changing our culture. I think we are far more out-reach minded now. Always looking for more ideas in our digital evangelism campaigns--so I appreciate this article and especially the examples you've provided.
So, what's your take and advice about social media as part of the digital evangelism campaign? In your opinion, how active should churches be on social? And what platforms do you think are best for churches to be on? I've been personally wondering how to make Gospel/Evangelism content for TikTok. Any suggestions?
David Malnes (Praise and Proclaim) 2021-11-08 11:48:17pm
Pastor Ulrich. Thank you for your comment. I have great memories of launching an outreach initiative at your congregation. Having a digital component to an overall evangelism strategy is really important and can be a powerful and a cost-effective tool to spread the Word. As you know, an entry point to teaching BIC classes ought to be offered in a classroom setting and on-line. But more than that, taking advantage of digital advertising via Facebook/Instagram and creating specific landing or web pages that addresses specific topics is a way to engage those who don't know what Jesus has already done for us. That seems to be the most powerful way to carry out digital evangelism. My best advice for platforms is to consider your target audience, give careful thought to messaging, and be prepared and resilient to test, test, test until you stumble upon something that seems to connect. Hope this helps.
Haden Werner (Martin Luther College) 2021-11-04 9:16:28pm
Mr. Dave Malnes,

My name is Haden Werner, and I am a sophomore on the staff ministry track at Martin Luther College. Thank you for your dedication and hard work at Praise and Proclaim. As part of training to become a staff minister, we are required to take a course on the foundations of evangelism, a course I am taking next year. As I read through your post, I have gained valuable insight on how important evangelism truly is. It fit in well with MLC just having Evangelism Day yesterday as well.

As a future staff minister, I’m guessing I will be assigned to serve in a congregational setting, and part of my role will most likely entail a part or all of the church’s evangelism efforts. What advice would you give to a young, brand new staff minister, or any called worker, who is called to run a church’s evangelism efforts? I am figuring I will learn more next year when I take the course “Foundations of Evangelism”; however, any personal advice you would like to share would be of benefit to me.

Thank you again for putting together this short post on evangelism and how Praise and Proclaim is such an amazing tool to use. God’s blessings on your future ministry!
David Malnes (Praise and Proclaim) 2021-11-09 12:06:01am
Thank you, Haden. First of all, thank you for your willingness to be God's servant during this amazing time in our history. We need you! And I truly believe that Jesus is right -- the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. From launching outreach initiatives in 2022, people are willing to be engaged by a church. The challenge is that they are less willing to come to church to hear the Word. Therefore, it is becoming even more imperative for the church to bring the message to the people -- both personally and digitally. This is the new dynamic in evangelism. My best advice for brand new called workers? Remember that God has a way of blessing activity, therefore be persistent, prayerful, and patient. Remember that the majority of members have had very little evangelism experience -- so be patient with them and celebrate activity. Finally, be okay with failure. This means be willing to learn, test, and try things until the Lord allows you to stumble upon something that the Lord blesses. May the Lord continue to bless your training at MLC.
Lauren Blaine (Martin Luther College) 2021-11-05 2:58:22am
President Dave Malnes,

I love how churches are provided with basic needs in order to accommodate online/streamed services. I think it is valuable that we as a congregation are reaching out to those that either can not come into church due to Covid or other circumstances. It is important because we need to be able to reach them in order to give them God’s Word and strengthen their faith.

You mentioned something about the program and how they include steps on different parts of the process. I understand that there are some pastors who are not electronic people. Are the instructions detailed enough that someone who does not know how to work technology would be able to create the devotional videos or the web pages? Does this also allow the congregation to be a part of the outreach or is it mainly up to the pastor or whoever is in charge of the outreach program?

Thank you so much for all the insight and the knowledge about “Digital Front Page Evangelism”.
David Malnes (Praise and Proclaim) 2021-11-08 11:58:14pm
Hi Lauren. Thank you for your comments. My suggestion for pastors, staff ministers, and evangelism chairman who are not internet savvy or electronic people is to either talk to people in the congregation who are internet savvy and have them be a part of your evangelism committee. If not, it would be extremely hard and frustrating to build anything even with the most detailed instructions. This is why its okay to hire folks to do the web work for you. It would be like hiring a plumber to fix a link. When you hire experts, they are able to do the job and save you valuable human resource time and energy. If the pastor is tech-savvy, that makes a huge difference because content creation is a very important part of the process. When members are informed of the content and are given instructions to provide the content to people within their own personal digital network in a safe, comfortable way, it can be a powerful and unifying evangelism tool for the congregation. Thanks, Lauren.
Alison Foxen (Martin Luther College) 2021-11-05 4:57:51pm
Mr. Malnes,

I really appreciate learning about how evangelism can still be used even through tough times, such as Covid-19. I know I personally really struggled with trying to watch church online in a fast and easy way since there were no in-person services. My grandparents' church had more issues with trying to go digital for the community and congregation, and reading about this tool is a very helpful tip that I will have to share with them.

As this tool is used to help people post and share messages and videos digitally, is there a way to help people and churches who are not familiar with technology and tools? I know multiple churches that are more stuck with traditional tools to communicate and have no clue when it comes to videos and recordings.

Thank you for this presentation. It really opened my eyes to how advanced our society is today and all the unique tools we can use to share the gospel.
David Malnes (Praise and Proclaim) 2021-11-09 12:14:45am
Thank you, Alison. You are asking a great question. There are really a ton of resources to help congregations communicate the gospel through video. The WELS have a WELSTech program that does that very well at What is really interesting to me is that you really don't have to spend thousands of dollars on video equipment. You can use a desktop or even a smart phone to record video and utilizing something simple like YouTube is one of the simplest ways for congregations to provide video lessons or gospel messages. Technology is getting more user-friendly every year, so less tech-savvy people can learn pretty quickly if they have the desire to invest their time and be less intimidated. Thanks, Alison. At the same time, it's hard for grand parents to be tech-savvy when they didn't grow up with it. Therefore, it would be wonderful if a group of "grandchildren" like you can go those congregations who have a retired pastor and offer your knowledge. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Jon Bailey (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2021-11-08 5:20:13am
During COVID, many of us were challenged with not being able to gather in public settings. It felt like the world was on pause for a while. It took a lot of encouragement from each other to keep spreading the Word. The best way to do this was through the internet. I appreciate your initiative to start spreading the Word online. Speaking from my synod, the WELS, and from my experience, I feel that we have been a step slow when it has come to the digital age. We appreciated the traditional gathering in person in church on Sundays. I still appreciate that even more now post-COVID. At the same time, it gave us the opportunity to spread the Word in new ways. We can reach further than just our neighborhood or where our mission trips go to spread the Word. Thank you for taking this initiative!
David Malnes (Praise and Proclaim) 2021-11-09 12:18:36am
Thank you, Jon. I agree with your comments. It is interesting to me that the arrival of COVID-19 sort of forced congregations to take advantage of technology to help lead on-line worship, devotions, and catechism classes. In the same way, we can apply what congregations are learning to help spread the Word in a post-COVID-19 world. I pray that this presentation can help congregations take that next step.