By Emily Bontrager
Jacob Coyne, the founder of the suicide prevention ministry Stay Here, pastor at Bethesada Church and Christian content creator, is scheduled to be a speaker and emcee at the opening rally for the 2021 March for the Martyrs in Washington, D.C.
Stay Here is a Christ-centered ministry with the goal of seeing Gen Z free from suicide, depression and anxiety through training people in suicide prevention techniques. Coyne’s ministry as a Christian content creator on TikTok and Instagram also focuses on equipping Gen Z with the Gospel.
In an interview with For the Martyrs, Coyne discussed how, in 2010, he and his father encountered Jesus, “I grew up in a Christian home. But I really backslid when I was in high school. My dad was touched by Jesus at a men’s Bible study and became filled with the Holy Spirit. When he came home that night, he looked different and he seemed different. I asked him, ‘Where did you go? Why do you seem so different?’ He told me he met Jesus and was filled with the Holy Spirit. So I told him all my sins that I’d been doing at the time. He took me the next week, and the same thing happened to me. I got delivered, I got filled with the Holy Spirit and I received the call from God to preach the Gospel and fulfill the Great Commission wherever I go.”
Since then, Coyne has been eagerly sharing the Gospel for about eleven years. Coyne has served as a youth pastor, a high school Bible teacher, a high school staff pastor and chapel organizer. His commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission eventually took him to the online mission-field. In 2020, Coyne noticed the explosion of TikTok as a major social media platform.
“I saw everyone was running to TikTok. Like oh my goodness this must be bad,” said Coyne. “Christians need to be on social media bringing the light in this dark place. So I prayed about it and I thought, ‘What if I go on that app and do prayer videos and preaching videos? What if God does something with that?’”
Coyne posted his testimony on his TikTok account with zero followers. Before he knew it, the video had around 70,000 views.
“It grew so fast. In the first year, I went from zero to a million followers. Now I’m reaching millions of people everyday on TikTok and Instagram,” said Coyne. “I hope that when people are done watching my videos they will want to read the Bible more because three minutes isn’t enough. I want them to be hungry to pray, read the Word, and go to church.”
A major theme throughout Coyne’s social media feeds is his conviction to not compromise the Word of God nor water down the Gospel. Coyne traced this conviction back to a moment shortly after receiving his call to fulfill the Great Commission wherever it took him:
“I remember reading Galatians where Paul said that anyone who preaches the Gospel other than the one that I preach to you, that man is accursed…. So I sat down and asked myself, ‘What even is the Gospel? I don’t even know what the Gospel is.’ I really went on a journey of understanding: What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Once I found that out, I’ve never wanted to change the subject — it’s liberating.”
“I really just try to teach my followers not to change the Word of God because it makes people feel better. It’s very counter-cultural because in Western culture we want to receive likes, we want to be accepted, we don’t want to step on toes or offend others. But the Gospel is offensive.”
“There are people in other nations that are dying because they didn’t change the Word of God. They didn’t mend it, they didn’t mold it to be relevant to their culture. They stood on the Word of God and they died because they didn’t change or accept the cultural norms.”
“In the midst of all this bad news, there is a great revival. Even in Afghanistan and Iran, these are the fastest growing churches in the world. Christianity is growing faster in China than ever before even in the midst of persecution and communism. Here is the good news: Our brothers and sisters in Christ are not afraid. They are praying the Acts 4 prayer for more boldness. And we know they are because Christianity isn’t stopping in these nations where everyone else is trying to get it to stop but it’s just growing faster.”
“I like to show my followers what’s going on in the world and [also how] to do practical things: pray, give in any way you can, and then also pray about your own calling. [Ask yourself,] ‘How can I reach unreached people groups? How can I reach people who don’t have access to the Bible? How can I reach people who are persecuted?’”
For the Martyrs is excited to have Jacob Coyne as a speaker and emcee at the 2021 March for the Martyrs. To hear him speak at the March for the Martyrs, register at https://forthemartyrs.com/register/