Mass media and Christian evangelisation in the digital age: Towards sustaining ‘mission’ in the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos
Keywords:Mass media, Christianity, Digital Age, Evangelisation, Mission, Catholicism, Protestantism, Pentecostalism.
AbstractChristianity has heralded a phase of religion that thrives on mission – the mandate to ‘evangelize’ or reach out to people who do not know Jesus Christ, his divinity and work of salvation. By the twentieth century when the global community began to grapple with the realities of modernity – part of which was a corresponding rise of immorality and loss of religious identity, even among traditionally Christian societies – the strategy of ‘mission’ changed to accommodate new ways of transmitting the word of God that would pierce the hearts of humans. In this information regime which offers the print, broadcast and social media platforms the impact of these on the new evangelisation is visible. The Pentecostal churches which are offshoots of the Catholic and Protestant churches have swiftly embraced this mass communication – aided technique for achieving mission thereby attracting unprecedented followership. The Catholic Church - although it imposes a strong, virile and seemingly unshaken image – is losing a huge number of its estimated one billion population, and if its media culture on mission does not change it would be a drawback. Drawing on the growing body of work which compares Catholic approach with Pentecostal mission strategy, the paper examines this distinction, and analyses the approach to the use of the media as a strategy of ‘mission’ in the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos – where Catholicism started in Northern Nigeria. Based on the analysis of mass media use in the Archdiocese, this paper argues that its communication strategy is, undoubtedly, driving the new evangelisation but needs to expand its media infrastructure for optimum results. The paper suggests that ‘mission’ can be strengthened through a robust and media-centred strategy.
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