During live broadcasts on TikTok led by singer songwriter Stephen McWhirter, more than 3,000 viewers on the short-video sharing site made decisions to follow Jesus. The born-again former drug addict said the regularly scheduled posts on his TikTok account (@stephenmcwhirtermusic) began a month ago.
Now, it’s a revival… and it’s on TikTok.
McWhirter, whose ministry includes touring churches in the United States and internationally, said he has never seen the kind of “harvest” he is seeing now.
“I’m seeing a real longing and a better conception of what repentance means,” he told Think Eternity. “What I’m seeing when I say revival is not superficial. You know, it’s like real repentance and people really turning to Jesus.”
McWhirter said that about three weeks after attending the Digital Billy Grahams conference in Kansas City in May he decided to “really commit to TikTok.”
“What I didn’t know is that it seemed prophetic, as if the Lord was saying, ‘Get ready!’ We had a video called ‘Come Jesus Come’ and it got a half-million views in 48 hours. People were really crying out for Jesus to return and it was a very real reaction, not just ‘Oh, cool song,’” he said.
During the first time he was live on TikTok, McWhirter began the broadcast by leading worship.
Then, he said, “I started sharing my testimony of being a meth addict and coming to Jesus and all that. And in the middle of sharing that, I felt the Lord wanted me to say, ‘Hey, if you want to give your life to Jesus, just type yes. And put your first name because I want to say your name because the Lord calls you by name.’”
Someone typed “yes.”
“I was like, wow this worked. And then somebody else did and then, somebody else and somebody else.”
McWhirter said he felt that he needed to do more than simply say their names and pray with those TikTok live viewers. He needed to connect with them. “We got to make this real,” he said. McWhirter and his small team created a link in the bio page that says, “I gave my life to Jesus.” The “real” connection is then made.
“We’re not asking for anything new. It’s just so we can call you, cheer you on, pray with you and help you find a place to get baptized. We want to help you get a community around you. Help find a way to get you in discipleship,” he said. “The next step is this email. The step after that is an email in which we say that ‘this Thursday we have a huge gathering on a zoom call,” where all these people who have given their lives to Jesus will be on the call with questions.”
McWhirter is now gathering resources for local churches, addiction and recovery ministries, so that people can get further connected. He says his ministry venture on TikTok is “all very new.”
“I started going live every Monday through Friday[now Thursday] at 9pm Eastern Time. We do worship [music]. I have people engaging in praying together. I’m asking for this [TikTok live] to not be a spectator thing. And then I’ll share the gospel and then I’ll give people a chance to give their life to Jesus. That’s a typical Monday night through Friday night at 9pm,” he said.
“But then also in the day, at around 3:30pm Eastern Time I’ll just read. I’m reading through the Gospel of John right now. And we’re just reading the Gospel. That’s it. Reading the Bible, doing a little talking about basic things. I try not to make it political. I’m not trying to do a theology class. I’m just trying to get people in the Word and keep them connected to Jesus. I also do an altar call.”
Near the beginning of the movement, included in the mix of viewers plugging into McWhirter’s TikTok live was a Satanist who professed her faith in Jesus Christ.
“We had a girl come on and say, ‘Hail Satan. I’ve given my life to Satan.’ I just stopped what I was doing and said, ‘Hey, you know, Megan, if someone wounded you in your life, that person most likely was not a Christian. That wasn’t Jesus. By the end of the call, she gave her life to Jesus. She repented and ended up messaging us. She called us, and while crying, shared about her first time praying by herself.”
McWhirter is beyond amazed about what has been happening through his post on TikTok live.
“This is like this crazy man. And it’s just really simple. Real interactions with people. It’s growing exponentially and we’re trying to figure it out. Revival is happening. It’s harvest time and it’s real, digital Billy Graham kind of stuff. We’re just doing the best we can with where we are because we don’t want to stop just because everything’s not perfect yet. That’s never going to happen.”
How does McWhirter answer the critics and skeptics of TikTok?
“Most of the things that cause fear in life do so because we don’t understand that thing when it’s something new. Instead, be a lifelong learner. Never just think ‘I’m not going to do something because I don’t understand it, or I don’t like it because it’s different and I don’t get it.’
“Usually just 10 hours of work looking into something, especially if it’s a possibility to bring more people to Jesus [like TikTok], just 10 hours of researching and learning a little bit about it removes 90% of the fear that you may have.”
Stephen McWhirter’s bio page here.
Alex Murashko leads the Thinke Writing Team and blogs at Media on Mission. Find him on various social media sites (@alexmurashko). GETTR username @MediaOnMission.