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Internet Evangelism: Casting a New Kind of Net
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Internet Evangelism: Casting a New Kind of Net

By Wendy Griffith
CBN News Sr. Reporter

CBN.com (CBN News) - "I got saved on the Internet" – that is what more and more people are saying, after logging onto religious Web sites.

The Internet is just one more tool that many ministries are using to reach the world for Christ. When Jesus gave the commandment, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel,’ the disciples were on foot. There was no television, no radio, no airplanes, and certainly no Internet. What a difference 2,000 years can make! Or for that matter, 10 years. Today, more and more people are coming to faith in Christ by logging onto the World Wide Web.

Twenty-year-old Kristi Tuck, a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, was a senior in high school when she began searching for God. She had seen a poster advertising a site called everystudent.com, an outreach of Campus Crusade for Christ. Curious, she decided to check it out, and in the privacy of her own room, invited Jesus Christ into her heart.

Tuck said, “And I sat at my computer in my pajamas, crying my eyes out, I was so joyful."

She says that the Internet provided the safe place she needed to get answers to her spiritual questions.

“I think that was exactly how the Lord needed to reach me,” Tuck said, “because I'd had very bad experiences in the past with people telling me, ‘Oh, You're going to hell,’ and so I would have been very turned off if someone had come up to evangelize me on the street, or too scared to go to someone at church and ask questions."

More than one billion people worldwide use the Internet, and according to CBN.com Contributing Writer Craig von Buseck, religion is the second most popular subject on the Web -- pornography is number one.

Von Buseck said, “Religion used to be number one, now pornography is. But God is number two and He is very well represented online."

CBN News asked von Buseck how important is the Internet, in terms of reaching the world for Christ, and he replied, “Right now more than one billion people are online, and what that means to us today is that any Christian who can log onto a computer can reach 1/6 of the world's population from their dining room table. "

Of the 60 million Web sites, hundreds of thousands are Christian. That means there is a Web site for everyone: witches who want to find Jesus can go to www.exwitch.org and porn addicts who want to get free can go to xxxchurch.com,or you can start your own Web site.

Von Buseck said, “It's an opportunity for Christians to get involved and be heard in the market place of ideas."

Todd Johnson, who directs the University of Virginia’s Campus Crusade for Christ, says the Internet is allowing them to reach more people with the Gospel than ever before.

Johnson commented, “It affects scope, in terms of the fact that the Internet is in every single dorm room, whereas my students and myself, we may not have the opportunity to do that."

But are students really using the Internet to investigate spiritual matters?

One male student said, "Yeah, I've used it once or twice. I use it to look up different views of the Bible, and just sort of different ideas and interpretations on it."

A female student remarked, “I can look at the Internet on my own and people don't need to know that I'm questioning spiritually or something like that."

Von Buseck says more than 1.2 million people a month log onto cbn.com for news, information, and ministry.

Asked if he is able to keep track of how many people actually make decisions for Christ on-line, von Buseck said, “Absolutely. More than 100 people every month are receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior through cbn.com. And those numbers we anticipate are going to continue to grow and grow as our numbers grow."

David Palmer of Christian Netcast.com, a Web streaming company based in Bangor, Maine, is helping take Christian ministries to the next level, by streaming their audio and video "live" on the Internet.

"We believe we're taking the Gospel right into the devil's playground," said Palmer.

He says it basically gives every ministry a global audience. It also allows for some interesting testimonies.

Palmer said, “There was a lady a few years ago, she was surfing the Internet looking for ways to kill herself. She was contemplating suicide, and she stumbled across a broadcast. It was actually a live church broadcast, and at the very moment that she got to it, the preacher said, ‘Someone right now, you're thinking that your life is just not worth it, but you need to know "God loves you."’ That woman fell on her knees at her computer and accepted the Lord."

Palmer says the woman was in Alaska, and the church service she stumbled onto was in Florida. He says Internet evangelism has no borders.

Palmer commented, “You're starting to hear terms like ‘virtual congregations,’ you have people who live in remote areas who can't go to a church and worship in a style that they're accustomed to, or they live in a very remote area that might not even have a church. These people go online and actually participate in every aspect of the service, from the worship to the teaching, even the offering."

Palmer and others say the Internet may be the greatest tool that God has ever given the church to help take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Learn how to reach people with the gospel on the Internet

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