The Digital Frontier of Missions 

EMQ » July–September 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 3

Gemena, Democratic Republic of the Congo: Marie Yalemoto talks with her colleague Baudouin Yangbengeta Zungao at the ACOTBA-SUBO office. In this simply equipped missions office, every desk had a laptop connected to the internet via satellite. PHOTO BY HEATHER PUBOLS. COURTESY OF WGA.

By Heather Pubols

Several years ago, I traveled to the northwestern corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At that time, the region’s largest city lacked much grid infrastructure, but wireless technology was abundant. Mobile phones were ubiquitous. Many homes, businesses, and even individuals had solar panels.  

A local missions office I went to was simply equipped and furnished, but every desk had a laptop connected to the internet via satellite. At the same time, I experienced how digital technology became scarce in rural areas only 30 miles outside the city. This visit made two truths clear: digital spaces are more globally accessible than ever, but they are still out of reach for some.  

From apps to AI, the increasing availability of digital technology is changing the world and the way we do missions. In this issue you’ll hear from practitioners working at this crossroads of missions and technology. You’ll read about digital missions, digital evangelism, digital discipleship, digital churches, digital prayer meetings, and even digital and metaverse mission fields.  

With more than 65% of the global population online,i gospel presence in digital technology meets most people where they are. As Justin Sooter explains in his article, the Church has a historical pattern of adapting how they share the gospel starting with using Roman roads, then the printing press, followed by radio, television, and now digital tools.  

Jeff Reed expands on this pointing out the unique opportunities that digital environments provide to share the gospel with otherwise hard-to-reach people. And Jeremy Hodes shares that AI technology offers the chance to “scale the personal” in evangelism and discipleship.  

However, Liz Adleta and her co-authors remind us that the global distribution of digital technology is uneven. In light of this, Andrew Feng and Nick Wu advise taking contextualized and personalized approaches to determine the best ways to use technology with different communities. And in spite of amazing technological developments in missions, Dorinda Beeley reminds that most people are not aware of why technology matters to missions.  

At the end of this issue, our extras section features articles on several other topics. This quarter you’ll find ones about supporting people through persecution, an evaluation of how missions terminology is used and understood, and a look at the global impact of Operation Mobilisation founder George Verwer. 

Heather Pubols
Editorial Director

[1] “Digital 2023: Global Overview Report,” Datareportal, accessed May 10, 2023, 

EMQ, Volume 59, Issue 3. Copyright © 2023 by Missio Nexus. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from Missio Nexus. Email: