A few years ago, a prominent British businessman found himself deep in prayer, seeking guidance from God about how to proceed with his charity work.
Lord Edmiston, an entrepreneur and the founder of Christian Vision, a U.K.-based ministry, asked the Lord to guide him as he attempted to figure out how his organization — which was founded in the 1980s as a shortwave radio outfit — would adapt to changing technological tides to better spread the Christian gospel.
"He was asking the Lord, 'You've given me the vision, but how are we going to do this?'" Nathan Spicer, a manager at Christian Vision, told TheBlaze. "When he began to pray, he recognized the scripture [in Romans 10], 'How will people know unless we tell them?'"
Romans 10:14, which focuses on the spread of the gospel, reads, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"
Those questions led Edmiston to start thinking about how he could better equip pastors. And then he had another epiphany, realizing that, with the right plan, Christian Vision could also empower individual believers to spread their faith, according to Spicer.
"Then, it dawned on him. We're all preachers," Spicer explained, noting that the responsibility to share the gospel doesn't solely fall upon pastors' shoulders. "We're all commanded to share our faith."
So, Edmiston brought his Christian Vision team together around five years ago to begin dreaming up how they would turn a corner and adopt a new form of outreach, turning to the Internet for inspiration.
"We were able to quickly recognize and reshape the whole organization around opportunity," Spicer said, noting that, until that point, the group's primary mode of spreading the faith in locations around the world was shortwave radio.
In the end, the team decided to launch yesHeis, a mobile app and platform that had its North American debut last week at the National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville, Tennessee.
Christian Vision describes yesHeis as an app and website that helps Christians "share Jesus online by connecting the best, most 'sharable' content with an engaging presentation of the gospel, providing an opportunity for the viewer to become a follower of Jesus."
While most Christians are well aware of the biblical responsibility to share their faith, polls show that substantial proportions fail to act on that conviction. YesHeis is hoping to correct that paradigm, while connecting churches with local individuals seeking answers about the Bible.
Creating an app and website that allows Christians to easily share video content with their friends and loved ones was a natural fit, considering the ever-changing technological landscape.
"In the past, everyone in a village would have a radio," Spicer said. "Now, they have a mobile phone."
YesHeis was already widely used across the globe before its North American debut last week, as there are operations in 12 different countries, with Spicer noting the example that there are, on average, 1,000 responses from video recipients each month in Indonesia, alone.
"So far, we've had over a quarter of a million Christians use the site to share their faith," Spicer said. "The mission has never been so global or accessible as it is right now. The average young person has 500 social connections. That's bigger than most youth ministries."
Here's how yesHeis works: Christians can download the Android, Windows or iOS app or use the website to find moderated videos that present a gospel message. Many of the clips are targeted to specific subject matter that individuals can search for, enabling users to meet the specific spiritual needs of a friend or loved one by providing a relevant clip about an issue that he or she might be going through.
"Once you're into the app, you're presented with content that has been moderated. We look at aggregating content from around the world," Spicer said, noting that the videos are relatively brief. "You won't find 30 minute sermons."
Video recipients are free to ask questions or respond to the videos, with yesHeis either connecting them to the original friend who sent the message or to a local church that can follow up with more information about the gospel.
This not only offers users the ability to share their faith more easily with their social networks, but it also encourages churches to use the tool to assist in their own growth and outreach.
"The best person to follow that person up is the friend or the local church in their city, giving churches the tools to help them build [themselves up]," Spicer said.
Find out more about yesHeis here.