by whit hazelton
On April 7, 2019, our team posted a short video to the Christian Union Day and Night Facebook page. Compared to our usual daily posts, the video was unremarkable. It featured a stock video clip of rain drops softly falling on a street, overlaid with the following quote from David Wilkerson, evangelist, pastor, and author of the book The Cross and The Switchblade:
“When God calls you to something, He is not always calling you to succeed, He’s calling you to obey. The success of the calling is up to Him; the obedience is up to you.”
It was the type of content we typically post to Facebook twice daily as part of our strategy to mobilize Christians to pray for the spiritual transformation of America, expecting to reach some 6,000 news feeds out of the 100,000 people who have “liked” the page (Facebook’s algorithm delivers a given post to only about 6.4% of a page’s followers, on average). To our surprise and delight, in the days and weeks that followed, we watched as this simple video was liked, commented on, shared, and re-shared by people far and wide, ultimately reaching 5.2 million people on Facebook, all without the help of any advertising boost. Just the thought that this concise call to obey God had been seen by so many Christians in America was energizing to our team. After all, if even one Christian was motivated by the quote to obey God, their act could have impacts into eternity.
A video we posted the very next day, April 8, featured the prayer found in Psalm 19:14: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Praise God, that video ended up reaching some 2.2 million people on Facebook through shares, comments, and likes.
It seems fitting that a quote about obedience not always producing visible success would be the first to go viral. Indeed, when Christian Union Day and Night embarked on this strategy of posting graphics containing Bible verses, prayers, and quotes about three years ago, the performance data wasn’t exactly impressive. For starters, our Facebook page only had a few thousand “likes” (followers). Also, the fact that an ever-growing number of publishers were posting more frequently meant that those followers wouldn’t see most of our content anyway. We trusted we were following the Lord’s direction, but knew it would be challenging. We stuck to the plan.
As any digital marketer will tell you, there’s no easy formula for going viral. We don’t know if or when we’ll again see millions of people reached with a single post. Our posts have gone back to reaching moderate numbers of people. We’ll continue to post Christian quotes, graphics, and prayers, while looking for new ways to reach more people online with encouragement to seek and press into the Lord for revival. What we do know is that, as Wilkerson stated, the success is up to God. The obedience is up to us.
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