In the middle of 2019, long before anyone was talking about the Coronavirus or lock-down, a small Christian charity made the momentous decision to move their ministry online. MEMO (Message on the Move) had been faithfully placing scripture texts on buses since its inception in 1883 (as The Tramcar and Omnibus Scripture Text Mission) but increased costs and dwindling responses and calls to the chatline had brought them to a point where a major change in strategy was needed.
Who would have imagined how this one change would affect the impact of the charity’s work on the travelling public? According to Matt Rich, the charity’s manager, and Counties’ evangelist, “The results for the first four months of 2020 have been spectacular!”
Since January 2020, MEMO have been placing God’s Word into the hands of the UK public by means of targeted Facebook Adverts. Alongside each image is this simple invitation. “Live chat available any time of day or night! Find out how Jesus can help.” By clicking through on the image enquirers are taken to wwww.chatnow.org (a separate ministry run by Matt) where they can chat to a Christian one-on-one.
In the first four months of 2020, these posters have been seen… wait for it… 644,000 times, with 12,200 people clicking through to the Chatnow. To get these figures into perspective, in the whole of 2019, ME-MO put up a mere 2,030 posters (at four times the cost) eliciting only 60 direct responses and 140 clicks through to the chatline. In one 7-day period, the new Facebook posters produced 5,300 visitors to Chatnow with 1,000 people chatting privately one-to-one. This phenomenal increase in enquiries has led Chatnow to recruit more volunteer to man the chat lines.
Matt has also set up a dedicated Coronavirus website www.CoronaVirusSupport.uk which provides help and support on a wide range of Coronavirus related issues. It too, has a link through to the chatline and is equally seeing a good level of responses. In one 7-day period the new site had 1,700 visitors with 127 clicks through to the live chat.
This is one of the many testimonies of what God is doing. Matt comments “Yesterday I chatted with a teenager in her late teens who came on to chat via the CoronavirusSupport.uk website. She was anxious about the Coronavirus situation and it turned out that her grandparents go to church and 10 years ago she used to go with them to Sunday School. Since lockdown began, she has been thinking about what she heard back then and wanted to chat with someone about it, she has now downloaded our meetJ app and has started to learn more about Jesus each day on it.”
Continue to pray for Matt and his team of volunteers at Chatnow. If you would like to support MEMO and sponsor an online poster campaign, you can do so via their website.
Partnership Co-ordinator for London and the South East, and Trustee of MEMO