Updated: Mar 24
“I can do that too,” I thought to myself, after seeing a poster replacing ‘Work from Home’ with ‘Worship from Home’ to interpret the acronym WFH. So, I picked up my brush pen and started doodling. Little did I know that this five-minute doodle would end up as the first picture posted on the Hope Kuala Lumpur Facebook group for online Sunday Service—this was a little less than a year ago. Sure, we are in the era where online Sunday Service is a norm and social media for the church is a must, except that both were unheard of in Hope Kuala Lumpur, had it not been for the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, there was me—signing up for a brush lettering workshop out of personal interest in February 2020. The pandemic wave had yet to hit Malaysia drastically and life was good. I remembered that day vividly as I worship led ‘Yet not I but through Christ in me’, which a relatively lengthy and daunting song. I am glad to have been given the privilege though, despite my inadequacies. At the end of the workshop, I wrote my first full set of brush letters unaided, thankful to call it a day.
The brush pen was unfortunately left untouched from that day, until 18 March 2020 where Malaysia was announced into Movement Control Order (MCO). In search of a distraction amidst panic and uncertainty, fuelled with an urge to encourage my Life Group members, was when I picked up my pen again for that fateful doodle.
With the spur moment of encouragement from having your work featured on your church’s social media site, doodles soon evolved into watercolour letterings and paintings. This self-appointed responsibility somehow made the whole MCO isolation and work-from-home ordeal bearable. At one point, however, the task became burdensome; stress crept in. Joy, on the contrary, was seeping out quietly like water through a wall. As I realize this, I pressed in on lettering biblical phrases and Bible verses only, as a form of a declaration against the negativity. Eventually, I also learned to pray before I pick up my brushes—determined that I cannot be just another “commercial artist”. Surely, there must be more than this.
One night, I asked God specifically for Good Friday inspiration. I saw a vision of the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head and received a strong impression that, although I felt trapped in this world and surrounded by its sorrows like the threatening, thorned crown, I am ultimately still surrounded by God. I drew what I received and posted it on social media. Surprisingly, a sister dropped a comment reaffirming that the prophetic drawing was timely due to the rough week she had, and it lifted her spirit! I never knew social media and my imperfect artwork can have such an impact. Something birthed in my soul—transforming the burden into a fresh challenge that I am now ready to commit to. What with the MCO situation where most of us are no longer able to minister to the congregation physically, why not work behind the screen and minister to them digitally? If a preacher preaches the gospel through a sermon, then a social media content creator preaches through social media content!
I decided to expand myself and learn media design digitally. As if God had it all timed perfectly, I got connected to Brother Aaron who was tasked to design banners for Father’s Day celebration. Consecutively, I also encouraged my mentee Denise to explore media design with me. This trio unknowingly started the first Hope Kuala Lumpur Social Media Ministry by the end of May 2020 and the rest is history. From relying on free graphic creation tools, this tiny team of three fearlessly explored design software and new methods to create meaningful contents; we sampled graphics from other churches both locally and internationally and challenged ourselves to take feedback from one another. Eventually, we even learned how to plan our postings to sync with the church’s events and celebrations.
While the nation was still in lockdown, once, we rallied the church to submit home-made video clips to bless our Pastor for his birthday. Just when I thought that, perhaps Hope Kuala Lumpur is not quite ready for digital contents due to the mild response towards our social media postings, everyone’s overwhelming support in the short clip submission was evidence of a breakthrough in the church’s acceptance of digital contents and social media. Now we can and we have to use social media platform for Christ’s purposes! Over the months, simple posters diversified into short videos, GIFs, and Instagram stories. Today, the team also supports church office in YouTube via live-streaming and live chat to engage and encourage our congregation to experience God despite the pandemic. As if that were not enough, God further provided talents from across Hope Kuala Lumpur including our daughter churches—many others who can paint and design professionally! God even added another three volunteers as media content contributors earlier this year. The ministry multiplied 100%!
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” This verse from Colossians 3:23 continues to be a reminder for the Social Media Ministry Team, so that we do not get consumed by worldly expectations and demands but to glorify God more than ourselves. To think that none of us has any professional background in communication media and designs, we recognize it in our hearts that the highest credit and loudest shoutout truly belong to our God who directed this entire creative ministry. For who can compare to Him who created everything in this universe—He has created our social media ministry from scratch and turned a doodle artist wannabe into a social media preacher! May the pioneering of Hope Kuala Lumpur Social Media Ministry remain as a testimony of God’s all-surpassing power to touch lives through all seasons and generations, that we remain faithful even as He remains so.