TikTok is not especially known for its Christian content, but Cristina Baker — mother, author and social media influencer — uses the platform to share the hope of Christ, and her content is now available in a new book, “Hope in 60 Seconds: Encountering the God of the Impossible.”
“God is getting so resourceful. He’s like, ‘Hey, I’m going to send you into the darkest places and that’s what’s going to draw people to Me. You’re gonna let your light shine and people are gonna see that burning passion they have for Me. They’re not gonna know — maybe they won’t understand at first — but then they’ll be compelled,’” Baker said.
TikTok has become Baker’s missions field, and it started as an idea back in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She felt the Lord wanted her to share hope through social media and chose TikTok, a relatively new social media platform concentrating on videos of less than two minutes.
Baker filmed her first post in the middle of the night in her bedroom, simply quoting Joshua 1:9 to encourage watchers to be strong and courageous in the Lord.
The next morning Baker found the video had gone viral. Knowing single videos sometimes did, she didn’t think much of it; but, despite the poor quality, each video that followed also went viral.
“The Lord was just really wanting to reach people [on the platform] with the hope that is only found in Jesus,” Baker said. “[The videos] became so widespread — people from so many different nations and backgrounds and ages, and men and women. It was just God was intercepting their scroll on TikTok.”
TikTok’s popularity is growing fast, but concerns about the platform abound, from security issues to its promulgation of dangerous advice and trends. Baker calls it one of the “dark places.”
But Baker has been in dark places before, and she knows the importance encouragement can play in bringing people to Christ.
“I was one of those people,” Baker acknowledged. “The Church came to me.
“I believe the Lord is just extending the nets far and wide in the darkest places. … If we don’t extend our net into the places where they are, then we’ll never really be able to effectively minister the gospel to people who would never set foot in a church.”
When Baker came to the “end of her rope,” she was an atheist, alcoholic and drug addict. She became homeless as a teenager and found help through a youth pastor and a couple from his church.
In their home there were two rules: an 11 p.m. curfew and attending church every Sunday. As she had no other options, she agreed.
Baker went to church, but wore pajamas, fuzzy slippers and a black hoodie with obscene content. Even when she fell asleep during the service, she said was never shamed or judged, but cared for and loved.
Experiencing that love put down roots that would later lead her to Christ, though it took another 10 years and facing jail time.
“Everybody was like, ‘She’ll be dead by 30 or in prison. It’s one or the other. There is no third option,’” Baker related. “I can’t even say that there was this huge willingness in my heart. I was just at a breaking point.
“I didn’t know who He was, but there was just this little bitty window that was like, ‘Whoever You are, help me.’”
In the videos Baker shares stories from her life when God was there for her, even when she didn’t realize it, and talks about her drug addiction, being homeless, having a brain tumor.
And she prays for those who are watching.
When her TikTok followers ask about the passion behind the prayers, she answers, “It’s what God has done for me.”
The desire to tell her story in-depth as well as spread hope to a new audience led to “Hope in 60 Seconds,” which includes elements of her story, relevant Bible passages and a challenge, bookended by prayers in each chapter.
Baker said in writing the book she felt “raw” and “vulnerable,” but she knew sharing those dark places could be the key to someone else’s breakthrough.
“I remember sitting out on a cliff on the beach and looking up, going, ‘Is there anybody out there?’ because I totally believed that nobody was out there, nobody cared,” Baker recalled.
“As I was writing, the Lord was taking me back to that moment: ‘Remember that time you were sitting on that cliff and you thought nobody was out there? I was there with you. I was sitting with you through it. My heart wept with you, for you, and I knew this day would come.’
“You get struck with awe and wonder of who He is,” Baker continued. “He’s the God who sees me. He sees us in our distress and sees us in the dark moments. He sees us in those places.
“Had I had that revelation many years ago I think it would have changed how I looked at life. But I didn’t. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to experience that today.”