Revd David Sims on his venture into the world of pithy social media
My journey into TikTok started a couple of years ago, when my housegroup encouraged me to give it a go! TikTok is a social media app which allows users to record and share short videos, as well as ‘go live’ and interact with their followers - and they were convinced that my personality, cheesy dancing, and love for silliness would be perfect for that platform. So Revd_Tiktok began! When I started, my main aim was to tweak videos that were trending with a Jesus slan t- so, for example, one of the first ones I did was the trending song blinding lights dance in church. After this, I took a trending sound and recorded a video with it with the simple message of Jesus loving you no matter what - and around 2.6k people saw it. And this is one of the most exciting things about Tiktok. For this previous video, 2600 people heard the news that Jesus loves them - people who might never have stepped foot into church, or even thought about faith.
More recently, I did a video about ‘Should Christians celebrate Halloween’ which had around 2k views, and over 100 comments - some agreeing, some disagreeing, but what a great opportunity to talk about Jesus’ light in the darkness and victory over evil to people who might never have heard the gospel before.
A few weeks ago I recorded a really short video asking people if I could pray for them. Eight thousand people watched it, and I had around 250 requests for prayer, mostly from people who weren’t Christian.
A final example - on Sunday night I did my first Tiktok Church service. Nearly 2,000 people tuned in for some of it, and we regularly had numbers of between 80-100 watching- with, at some point, 210 people watching. We sung some worship songs, had a bible reading and talk, and I led a time of prayer. As a result of this, 10 people asked for Bibles to be sent to them, one person has asked to be linked in to a local church near them, and we had two visitors yesterday who came to church after seeing a couple of videos on TikTok.
Imagine how excited you would be if someone came up to you at church and said ‘I’m interested in faith - do you have a Bible I could have?’ I’d be jumping for joy, and rushing to get them one. And here I was, with piles of Bibles in the hallway ready to go to the post office- all because some people saw a silly dancing vicar on Tiktok, and God’s Spirit started to work in their hearts. Praise God!
I’d encourage you to get onto Tiktok. If you can use whatsapp, you can record a video on Tiktok - and it doesn’t have to be all polished, or squeaky perfect, or anything like that. I’ve realised that authenticity, integrity, and taking time to reply to comments and messages means that more and more people will engage. Why not record a daily one minute Tiktok prayer, and upload that? Or go live when you pray, and invite people to ask for prayer? If you like dancing, give it a go - and type a bible verse onto the video to go with it?
The possibilities are huge. The Tiktok fields are white for harvest, but the Tiktokking harvesters are few. Go for it!
David Sims is vicar of St Thomas Church in Aldridge
You can find some guides to using TikTok and read others accounts of using TikTok on the Church of England website.