Written by: Lourieke Haller
Marnus and Jacques Stadler, 19-year-old identical twins from Kempton Park, have a passion for spreading the love of Jesus around the world.
Everyone rightly warns about the dangers of social media and how it steals time and becomes an idol. Marnus and Jacques have proved with great success that social media can also be one of the most powerful evangelism tools in the digital age.
They are first year theology students at the University of Pretoria. While they were still in matric, they launched a Christian Instagram account, Reformed by Christ, that has since gained more than 114 000 followers from around the world.
It is also the largest Christian Instagram account in South Africa. The top 30 Christian social media accounts in the world were invited to a Social Media Roundtable Discussion in Edmond Oklahoma, hosted by YouVersion (the largest Bible App) and Life Church.
Marnus and Jacques were also invited to attend the forum discussion in March. Recently they were the guest speakers at the Templo Victoria de Houston Church conference in Pasadena, Texas.
Two brothers had a dream to spread the Good News of Jesus’ salvation with a basic Instagram account and that is becoming a reality.
It is important for their family that everyone has knowledge of the Bible and learns love and respect for the Lord.
“We always had a love for the Lord and just wanted to learn more about Jesus. In grade 10 we realised that our love for Him is not just a faith – it is our calling and we want to dedicate our lives to Jesus fully,” they say.
It is this calling that made them decide to proclaim the Lord’s Name through social media all over the world.
“Social media is currently the most widely used platform where people seek inspiration and help for all problems. People feel free to ask questions, criticise and even be mean on social media. However, it can all be used to bring people closer to Jesus,” says Jacques.
From 200 to 42,000 within 5 weeks, they found that the needs of people who are active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are different and that the different platforms also fulfil different needs.
They decided on Instagram because it is a popular platform for them as teenagers.
“All our classmates were constantly busy with their phones on Instagram, because among the youth it is a bigger platform than Facebook. So we started @ReformedbyChrist on Instagram.”
The account grew to over 111,000 followers in three years. Their Facebook account has also grown at a pace. On June 15, 2019, they had only 200 followers, but inside In 5 weeks, it has grown to over 42,000 followers.
Unfortunately, hackers took it over a month ago. “We have also learned from this and significantly sharpened our security with our new Facebook page Marnus & Jacques Stadler @Stadlertwins,”says Jacques.
It’s about followers of Jesus, not Instagram followers
The two are not hunting for numbers either. It is about Jesus and putting people’s eyes on Him.
“In today’s world people have little hope for the future. We encourage them and give them hope for the future by keeping their eyes focused on Jesus. Only through Him do we have hope,” says Jacques and Marnus.
“Our dream is that we can work together to proclaim and glorify Jesus’ Name.”
What’s the secret to success?
There are many Christians and Christians-organisations or ministries but significantly fewer followers.
“We listened to people on Instagram and found out what they were looking at and what their needs were. We also encouraged our Instagram followers to send us private messages. This is how we found out what our followers’ needs really are. They started sharing our posts and that’s how our page grew,” says Marnus.
“And people don’t want to read long pieces on social media. Instead, we post photos and videos,” explains Jacques.
Although they are not yet sure whether they want to be teachers or missionaries in the future, they want to continue reaching as many people as possible through social media for Christ. And even though they are so young, they are already popular guest speakers.
“We are very grateful to have been invited to America twice this year and will be on Kruiskyk TV from 1 August with our own program, Yesterday’s Bible in Today’s Time,” says Marnus.
This program will be shown on Thursday evenings at 7pm with the repeat Monday at 4pm
Powerful medium for the digital age
The two brothers’ testimony is certainly an incentive for anyone to use social media for good and as a powerful medium to reach a generation of people who may never set foot in a church.
“Anyone can proclaim the Lord’s Name on social media and touch many more people than you could ever imagine,” says Marnus. And you can believe him, he has 114,000 followers who confirm it!
Date published: 04/09/2019
Feature image: Marnus Stadler (LEFT), Jacques Stadler (RIGHT) and Brent Shows (MIDDLE) in America at the Life Church and YouVersion Discussion Forum in March 2019 Oklahoma.
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