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Internet evangelism just scratching surface

By September 24, 2004

USA (MNN) — “The strategy of the Great Commission is not that they come to us ¬ but that we go to them,” said Dr. Sterling Huston, chair of the Internet Evangelism Coalition, as he addressed the IEC Annual Meeting last week in Chicago. Dr. Huston underscored the wonderful opportunity offered by the Internet for denominations and ministries to go into the digital marketplace ¬ pointing to hope and answers to life needs through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

As part of the IEC meeting, participants heard from a number of Internet Evangelism practitioners including Andrew Careaga (www.e-vangelism.com) who said the recent trend toward Internet blogging offers Christians a way to share their ideas and point people to Christ by beginning conversations on topics with a broad interest.

Cheryl Wilhelmi, Project Manager of www.Troubledwith.com a ministry of Focus on The Family, emphasized that they seek to help people in the midst of life change, challenge and crisis by extending immediate help and long term hope in Christ. Dennis Fierbach, VP of Information Technology for Campus Crusade for Christ Canada, reported that the www.TruthMedia.com sites have over 750,000 visits a month, with some 1,000 people a month making a decision for Christ. TruthMedia is assisted by 350 online volunteers and over 800 prayer supporters.

By 2005, an estimated one-billion people will be online. What they access varies depending on age, gender, ethnicity and other factors. According to Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, one thing they are exploring is religion. Speaking to the IEC meeting, Rainie reported that 64 percent of Americans currently online have used the Internet for religious or spiritual information.

IEC participants agree that Christians are just scratching the surface of the potential of the Internet for evangelism. The call from the IEC meeting was for Christian web sites to rethink online services in light of their evangelism potential and how to help fulfill the Great Commission through the Internet. In order to do so, the conclusion was that thousands of missionaries are needed for the field of the Internet. Many ministries are coming to the forefront with training for online evangelism including the IEC
(http://bgc.gospelcom.net/iec/otoe/index.php) and TruthMedia (http://training.truthmedia.com).

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