A Victorian Adventist has taken the digital world by storm, with his videos attracting more than 256,000 likes and over 8 million views. Joreal Qian, former editor in chief of Australia China Business Circle has more than 29,000 followers on video sharing platforms TikTok and Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok). Joreal, 32, started his channels after his publication ceased operations during pandemic, as advertising and distribution channels closed.
After much research, Joreal pursued a new business opportunity, opening a Douyin/TikTok account. Due to its increasing popularity with young people and its growing audience, the platforms provided the perfect launching pad for his ideas.
Joreal’s first first video was a self-introduction. “That video got 43 views. My journey was not smooth at first, but God has been blessing me both in business and ministry. Now, my top three video clips have got one million-plus views each. I have kept my first video as a reminder to my audience that you can grow your channel.”
Joreal posts videos regularly, focusing on a wide range of topics from COVID-19 to living in Australia and even advice about relationships. While Joreal did not intend to use his TikTok for the purpose of ministry, after gaining the trust of his followers, he felt comfortable enough to share information about Adventist Students on Campus (ASOC) at Monash and Melbourne universities.
“I thought I should use my influence to attract gospel seekers to the Adventist club.” After a number of attempts, Joreal found that some of his audience were joining his care group and church as a result of his videos. He never mentions the gospel on TikTok; he never shares Bible verses or calls people to attend Bible studies due to the algorithm of the platform, which limits the reach of account holders who directly post religious topics. “I establish trust with potential Gospel seekers, they like what I say and then they are curious about where they can meet me, so it’s all personal, and then I invite them to Bible study groups and get them to meet me. This happens offline not online.”
Joreal emphasised that not everyone in his audience has a religious background and they join the club for different reasons, whether that be for professional services or networking. Joreal reflects on his own journey: 11 years ago he joined a Bible study group because of the free vegetarian food. He stayed for the sermon and sharing and bit by bit he was converted.
As a result of Joreal’s efforts, he has attracted around 20 people to Bible study groups in person and many more online.
Due to the overwhelming response, Joreal found that he could not keep up with the number of people who were attending his care group—distributing the gospel seekers into different groups allowed them to have a more personal experience. To retain members, Joreal developed a workshop to teach others how they can become influencers for Jesus.
“I try to inspire people to do their own channels in their own time, to have some fun and followers so we can have multiple influencers in our Church. I want to help more people around Australia who have a burden for social media ministry.”
When asked about what tips he would give to budding social media influencers, Joreal stated, “focus on the content and the trust”.
“The content you want to provide on social media will be determined by the target audience. Figure out who your target audience is, what their pain points are and provide practical help. Focus on establishing trust—this will bring that person to Bible study groups. Don’t try to give a direct call to action, or share events, try to be tactful on social media. If you have trust established with the audience, it will be much easier to spread the gospel.”
Joreal offers free consultations to anyone who is interested in learning how to start their own TikTok ministry.
To find out more, email: <Equaljoreal@hotmail.com> or <Joreal@askjoreal.com.au>.
Kymberley McMurray is the Victorian Conference communications coordinator.