"Then Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom..." Matthew 9:35
Do you love social media and have a heart for Jesus? YES! This is the missionary opportunity you have been waiting for.
You will participate in social media platforms such as forums and blogs, where people are discussing topics related to family, marriage, parenting, child rearing, sanctity of life, amongst others. On these platforms you will respond to posts from brokenhearted people and can offer biblical truth, prayer, Christian resources and encouragement.
As an Online Mentor, you can volunteer onsite at Focus on the Family or anywhere you can bring a laptop. Online Mentors can serve any time of the day, any day. You may be a college student looking for volunteer hours, a retiree looking to mentor the hurting, or a person at home seeking to serve. Online Mentoring is a designed for anyone with a passion to shed light in the darkened world.
If you are passionate about reaching others with Truth but need flexibility APPLY TODAY!
"My heart breaks at how many teens and young adults online are suicidal. I want to give them something to let them know their life matters." – Focus Digital Engagement Staff
"I wanted to become an online mentor because I love helping others. It is such an unique ministry, and I wanted to be a part of that. I believe God is going to do great things through this ministry. It is a convenient way to spread the love of Christ to all people. It is truly amazing how the love of God in us can be poured out into others through online contact." – Current Online Mentor
"My volunteer experience has impacted me greatly. Having two special needs children sometimes prevents me from being able to get out and spread God's love. So being an online mentor helps me fulfill my purpose in life. It provides a great opportunity to learn effective communication. It teaches me how to respond to people with love and understanding. It provides great opportunities for intercessory prayer. Everything God has called me to do I am able to do it from the comfort of my home." - Current Online Mentor
"A lot of people have thanked me for caring and thanked for the helpful advice/resources. I think the story that has touched me the most was from a woman who was currently having a miscarriage. She had been to the doctor and for some reason it was taking days for her body to miscarry. There was nothing more the doctor could do, it was just a matter of waiting for the process to complete. Her husband just got a new job so he was unable to stay with her. She didn't have any family or friends. I was the only one that responded to her post. When she replied, she said, "Thanks for being the only one to care." She said that helped her more than I will ever know. It felt good and humbling that God chose me to be that one person to make a difference in this women's life." –Current Online Mentor
I hope someone will find compassion for me. I'm a torn and broken person who desperately wants to make things right. I confessed to an affair a few months ago. My spouse just filed for divorce, giving me less than 30 minutes to get out.
Our marriage was in trouble before this, and now it feels hopeless. I want to heal and rebuild our relationship. I wonder if we're just better off apart. I'm so sorry for what I've done and for our beautiful children, but how in the world can you move forward and rebuild if your spouse is plagued by fear? How do you know if something is worth fighting for?
Online Mentor Response:
I think marriages are worth fighting for. We all have hard times and have all made mistakes on different levels. You might check out the marriage intensives at www.hoperestored.com. They're created for marriages on the brink of divorce, even if you've already filed. Lmk if you want more info. Will pray for your marriage.
Original Poster's Reply:
Thanks for the marriage intensive link ! I've reached out to them. Thanks for the prayers, we need them!
1. Is my computer at risk when I am on these forums? Since Focus does not control the content or structure of non-Focus websites, we can't guarantee that your computer will not be exposed to risk when visiting them. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you install anti-virus software and use an ad blocker with your Internet browser.
2. Will we be establishing long term relationships with the people we are connecting with? Not usually. Most of our conversations are brief, one-time interactions with the people we encounter online. Sometimes conversations can continue for a while, and occasionally we will check up on someone, but we typically do not establish ongoing relationships.
3. What variety of topics will we be engaging on? The topics we engage on correspond with Focus' key ministry areas: marriage, parenting, child advocacy, sanctity of life, and evangelism. We address the latter mainly by meeting people at their point of need or crisis and offering hope in Christ.
4. What if this person wants to connect with a support group/Church in their area? How can I help? We typically do not offer church referrals; however, we do have referrals to certain organizations (e.g., Celebrate Recovery and GriefShare) that have local support groups.
5. What if the person I am connecting with wants to speak with me over the phone, is this allowed? To protect your safety and privacy, we do not recommend making personal contact via e-mail, telephone, or your personal social media accounts with a person you've been reaching out to as an Online Mentor. Your ministry should take place only within the various forums you are posting on.
6. Do I need to have an antivirus or an ad blocker on my computer/laptop? We strongly recommend that you use an antivirus program, to help prevent offensive ads and “sponsored content” from appearing on the web pages you visit. We don’t endorse specific products, but here is information on a free ad blocker: https://adblockplus.org/
7. What are the requirements for this project?
18 years of age or older
Understanding and enjoyment of social media
Willingness to share the Gospel
Volunteers who work offsite are recommended to have the following computer system options:
Own a MAC or PC computer or laptop; mobile devices do not work well
Mentors will need a Yahoo or Gmail email account
We strongly advise antivirus protection
Windows XP, Windows 7/Vista or Mac OS X
2 GB of memory
1024X768 Screen resolution
High Speed Internet Access (preferably a 6MB/sec via cable or DSL)
8. What exactly is an Online Mentor? An Online Mentor is someone who reaches out on behalf of Focus to hurting people on online advice forums, sharing Good News, encouragement and (where appropriate) Focus information that speaks to their situation.
9. What does an Online Mentor Do? As an online mentor, you will receive notification of online conversations where people are expressing personal or family needs. The Online Mentor then joins the conversation, offering encouragement and practical information.
10. What programs do Online Mentors use? Online Mentors need internet access and a Gmail or Yahoo account. We use an online message board (Trello) for our training and a web-based application called Social Studio for our Online Mentor work.
11. What is the time commitment? The assigned posts take anywhere from 2-4 hours per week to complete. This can be done at a time convenient for you. We ask that volunteers commit to 6 months service.
12. Do you require a certain number of posts per week? Yes, we require that you engage on ten posts per week. If you cannot commit to this for any given week, please contact us before that week starts and let us know.
13. Are they calling us or are we going out and finding them? Typically, we are going out and searching for online conversations to jointhrough different forums. We’re able to speak to people who may never hear of Focus or may never have been exposed to a Christian perspective on their situation.
14. What is the training involved? Online mentors go through self-paced, Web-based training that takes approximately 2 hours to complete. This is followed by an interactive technical training session, then a period of one-on-one coaching with a Focus mentor.
15. Is the training self-paced or is there a time frame?
Our training is self-paced but we do require that you complete it within a 2 week time limit.
16. Is there someone to help me through this if I have trouble? Absolutely! Focus staff are available to help provide insight, wording, and resource recommendations for various situations. We can also troubleshoot technical issues, as needed.
17. What if I come across a post that I am uncomfortable with or don’t know how to respond to? You are never obligated to respond to a post that you are uncomfortable with. However, if you need direction or suggestions regarding a response, the Focus team is happy to help!
18. Can I do this from anywhere? Yes!As long as you have your own personal computer/laptop, you can do this from anywhere around the world.
19. Can I use my IPhone/cellphone for this project? Our digital engagement software, Social Studio, has a mobile app; however, it is not optimal for this purpose. It is recommended that you get started with a desktop or laptop system before using the mobile app.
20. Can I refer other people to this project? Please do! Be sure to let us know when you are planning on referring someone so that we can get you all the materials and information you need for your referral.
21. Can I post this project on my social media sites? By all means, spread the word!
22. Will I be using my own name? No. In most cases, you will be posting under a username that you have registered on the forum. We take your privacy very seriously and suggest that you protect your identity carefully.
23. Do we say that we are from Focus on the Family? Typically, we are posting as members of the online community and do not mention directly that we are with Focus. If we mention Focus, we usually do so casually, as a friend who’s simply offering information.
24. Are these people that we are reaching out to Christian? Most of the forums we’re involved with are secular, and most of the users are non-Christians. While we may disagree with many of the ideas that are presented in these spaces, it’s a great opportunity to share the gospel in a loving, personal manner.
25. Do I have to have a computer for this? Yes. While there is a mobile app, it is best to use a computer or tablet.
26. Can I use my library computer for this project? Yes. Because Social Studio is web-based and does not rely on an installed application, it can be used on any computer.
27. Can I receive internship credits for this? We’ve had Online Mentors receive internship credits for this, though you should check with your professor or advisor about the requirements for your internship so that we are able to meet all of them. We will also contact your professor for approval, before you get started.
28. Can I receive signed off volunteer hours for this? Yes!
29. Can I volunteer onsite as an Online Mentor? Yes, if you are in the Colorado Springs area and would like to volunteer in our Digital Engagement Center, you are welcome to do so!
30. How many Online Mentors do we have on board? We currently have approximately 200 on board.
31. When did this project start? We started this project on a limited basis in 2011 using Focus staff and in 2015 we expanded to include volunteers.
32. How many people have been reached through this project? Since we started keeping track in 2013, we’ve been involved in more than 50,000 conversations, with an estimated reach of 2.2 million people.
33. Does Focus offer resources that we can use to help others? Yes, yes, yes! Focus has a wealth of information on our websites to help those who are struggling with personal or family needs. We also have counseling services, as well as referrals to non-Focus organizations that can provide help in various situations.
34. Will I have my own Mentor throughout this project? After the initial self-paced training, you will work with a coach who will review and provide feedback on your first several responses. Even after this phase, there will always be ongoing help available through our support team.
35. Do you monitor our responses to each person? We regularly monitor our Online Mentors' responses, both during the initial coaching phase and afterward. This helps ensure quality and adherence to Focus' core values and response style.
36. Who can I contact when I have a question or need help with something? During the application and training process, please contact OnlineMentors@fotf.org.
37. May I mention my own ministry (or book or website) as part of this outreach? No. While we occasionally mention approved non-Focus organizations and resources, you may not use this channel to promote your own website, books, ministry, or products.