Internet Evangelism Day Strategies

Only five days remain until Internet Evangelism Day, May 7, 2006!  Internet Evangelism Day (IED) is a day for Christians educate themselves and strategize within their organizations about how they can better share their faith online throughout the year.  The hope is to raise awareness among Christians of the potential for sharing the Gospel online and dramatically increase the number of Christian organizations actively involved in evangelism online.

Last week I wrote about the general purpose of IED, this week I’m going to write about some specific action steps individuals and organizations can discuss and consider when planning their Internet evangelism strategies.  Remember, IED, is not a single day where we go online to talk about God; it’s a day to make decisions about how we will use the Internet to share God’s amazing grace with others throughout the next year.

IED Is for Everyone

The types of strategies you consider on IED will depend on two primary things: the number of people in your organization and the technical competency of your people.    The bigger the organization, the bigger your goals can be. The more technically competent the people, the greater the options.  The great thing about the Internet, however, is that even a single individual can make a difference and even a technical novice has options.  In that respect the virtual world is just like the physical world – everyone has the means and opportunity to share the love of God with others.

Individual Strategies

Even if you’re a 70-year-old grandmother who only recently started using computers, you can be an Internet evangelist.  You don’t even have to big hair or a southern drawl. ;-)  It’s all about building relationships and naturally communicating what matters to you most, your relationship with God.  Here are some options:

  • Find a website that deals with a hobby you enjoy and has active forums or chat rooms.  It could be anything like cooking, bird watching, music, or gadgets.  I love football and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in particular.  They have very active forums and I have had a ton of spiritual conversations with people in the off topic forum.
  • Find a website with active forums or chat rooms that provides support for people dealing with a struggle you are either going through or have experienced in the past.  Again it could be anything like divorce, cancer, depression, or eating disorder.  Empathize with and encourage people, share your story, and if people ask you can share advice or your faith with them.

Before you move forward, please become familiar with the right way to communicate your faith in chat rooms and forums.  I’ve seen a lot of Christians engage in bad behavior either due to lack of love or ignorance.  For example, one of the worst things you can do is what I call “hit and run” evangelism.  This is where a Christian will go into a message board they’ve never been before, pop off telling everyone they’re going to hell unless they accept Christ, and then leave.  Jesus would never have behaved this way.  All it does is push people away.   I’ve also seen Christians post political or cultural rants or get into theological arguments with other Christians.  There’s a time and place for those conversations, but a secular website is not it.

If you are more of an Internet geek like me, you have some additional options.  You can actually create the settings for building relationships and engaging in spiritual conversations.

  • If you currently have a website for a Christian ministry, I strongly encourage you to include a page about your spiritual journey and how a person can become a Christian.
  • If you currently have a website that is not particularly for a Christian purpose, perhaps a family site, business site, or a hobby site, depending on the situation you might also consider a page about your spiritual journey and how to become a Christian.
  • If you have an interest in a hobby or support group and there doesn’t seem be one with a message board for communication among visitors, consider creating your own “bridge site.”

Organization Strategies

As with the individual strategies, your organization doesn’t have to have a techno-geek or web designer to develop a strategy for Internet evangelism.  Here are some options:

  • Create an Internet evangelism team.  Generally speaking, people share their faith individually online, but regular team meetings are good way to support each other.  The team can meet together regularly to celebrate successes, offer encouragement, discuss new ideas, and keep each other engaged.
  • Offer Internet evangelism training.  Do a seminar periodically to help educate individuals about how to share their faith online.  Discuss the do’s and don’t’s like I mentioned above.
  • Modify your website to be more seeker-friendly.  You’ll find some tips on that in the article How inclusive is your church website?  While it’s written for churches, many of the principles apply to any Christian website.

If your organization has one or more website designers, you might consider a team approach to bridge sites where the designer creates one or more new websites and other less technical people moderate the forums and participate in the conversations.

There are tons of other options and ideas, but I’m limited by time and space here.  I’d love to hear some of your ideas.  What Internet evangelism strategies are you engaged in or considering?

In His Service,
Paul Steinbrueck
OurChurch.Com

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

6 Responses to “Internet Evangelism Day Strategies”

  1. I’m sorry. I posted about your article on my church’s new blog (using WordPress) and sent a trackback to your article. I didn’t realize that nearly my entire post would show up in your Responses field. I’m still a little new to this stuff. Feel free to remove it ( :

    I enjoy your writing and your site. It’s inspiring me with lots of ideas on how to effectively use modern technology for God’s service.

  2. No problem, Mike. I edited the comment a bit to trim it down. I’m excited to see another OCC member blogging. I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed for your blog so I’ll see all the articles you post in the future.

  3. Thanks Paul for including http://bridgesites.org in your Christian Web Trends Blog and your email newsletter. I updated the site and also included a link to ourchurch.com.

  4. Mr. Steinbrueck,
    I enjoy reading your advice blogs, as they are both beneficial to the soul as well as to the productive ministry of websites. To do my part in moving forward the Christian Evangelism via internet, I have posted some of my life struggles in order to be a blessing to others who have gone through these very same struggles, or are currently going through them, in which initially was very hard for me to commit to doing, as I am relatively a very private person, but through God’s strength and my compliance to his command I did so.
    In addition, I have included intimate-spiritual poetic expressions as an added tool to aid in Spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to this site in the hopes to touch and encourage those that visit it to feel the passion of our Lord and Savior.

    Finally, I plan to use some of the suggestions you detailed in the e-mail you sent, in hopes that it will make the site further reflect the wisdom of GOD, therefore winning the souls of its visitors for the kingdom!!

    Thank you so much and please pray for me and my family’s strength in the Lord!

  5. Dear friend

    You kindly linked to an Internet Evangelism Day page on your site, at http://blog.ourchurch.com/2006/05/02/internet-eva

    Internet Evangelism Day pages are no longer at http://ied.gospelcom.net and have moved to http://www.internetevangelismday.com

    Please could you change your links so that they still work. Any inner site link which was previously http://ied.gospelcom.net/somepage.php can be changed to http://www.internetevangelismday.com/somepage.php

    Grateful thanks.

    Blessings,

    Gweno

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. elston HEIGHTS » Blog Archive » Internet Evangelism Day - May 2, 2006

    [...] Although out church’s Internet ministry is just getting off the ground right now, I think that making our congregation aware of what each of us can do individually would be great! At OurChurch.com, Paul Steinbrueck has a post detailing some of the steps that we can each take towards “Internet evangelism”. He briefly suggests activity on message boards and forums, which is a great way to engage people in “discussion”.  Please read his article if you’re new to sharing your faith online (and even if you’re not). Blogging is also another possibility. [...]