Online Church Part 7: Evangelism Opportunities Abound

The opportunity to reach people that offline churches currently aren’t reaching with the gospel is probably the most compelling and oft cited support for online churches.

Mark Meyer, pastor of Granger Community Church’s online church said it like this in a comment earlier in this series:

“Church attendance is decreasing, social networking is exploding, and views of Christianity and “the church” are troubling (Unchristian, Barna surveys)… I believe there are millions who are not comfortable taking a step to go to a physical church… that step certainly seems easier online”

Not to mention the people who are physically unable to go to an offline church because of their health or living in a country (or a home) closed to the gospel.

I doubt many people would disagree with that. Would you?

Online Alter Call

Recently I visited LifeChurch.tv’s online church.  At the end of the message, Craig Groeschel presented the gospel.  While he did an option appears below the video where I could click to indicate I had made the decision to receive Christ as my savior.  There was also a number next to it displaying the number of people who indicated they made that decision.  A chill went down my spine as I saw the number change.  By the end of the service 3 people had indicated they received Christ as their savior.

Sure, those people could have just clicked to see what would happen or something.  Only God knows if those people made a sincere decision to follow Him.  But that’s true in an offline church when people raise their hand, stand, or come forward to indicate a decision for Christ.

Do you see evangelism as one of the greatest opportunities for online churches?  Are there any hurdles or difficulties with evangelism?  Have you got any stories to share of people who came to Christ through an online church?

[image by raftwetjewell]

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 “Online Church Part 7: Evangelism Opportunities Abound”

  1. Evangelism can be done online. It is easy to put up a website that proclaims the gospel message. A complete virtual church can be done, but takes more work. From these sites, people can read (or perhaps hear or see) Biblical truths proclaimed. The first part of the great commission is easy to do online. I would submit that it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of simply spreading the gospel in this way.

    I maintain that it is just as difficult if you are going door to door trying to spread the gospel in a physical offline church environment. You can spread seeds, but it is difficult to measure how many root and how many are simply eaten by birds or wither for want of water or nourishment. Only God knows who truly responds in any event as noted in the post.

    I also think that it is no more difficult to go into an brick and mortar church today than it was for Jewish converts to Christianity to live in a Jewish world back in Christ's day. It wasn't easy for the Christians to gather in cities where pagan religions were flourishing either. Satan works just as hard trying to keep people from the kingdom of God now as then. Yes, a click to a Christian website may be easy to do. But there are so many other things to click on as well. It's just as hard either way.

  2. Why was Christ's ministry successful? The power of God through the working of the Holy Spirit in him manifested itself in signs and wonders that the people heard about because they were supernatural and drew them to his ministry. We aren't supposed to seek the signs and wonders for ourselves – by grace are we saved through faith and not by works, lest any man should boast.

    Yet Christ did also say that signs and wonders would follow those who believed. They have been present in every generation since Christ was on the earth. They are present in the church of today as well. Sadly, for all the Christian churches out there today, there are few where God works as consistently through His people as in the early church. God hasn't changed, and His promises are still yea and amen. The failure is with ourselves.

    So where does that leave us for evangelism? There will always be a greater opportunity to reach the world when personal physical relationships are present and unbelievers can see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears when God acts. People being what they are, offline will always have a greater degree of trust and belief than online (or TV or radio for that matter). It is the nature of the human heart to trust what you experience directly more than what could be "produced" or more easily "faked" in another medium.

    If we want evangelism to succeed, we all need to get back to what the disciples had going for them from Acts 2 on. The church and the Christianity it presents needs to stand separate from the other religions of the world in power. That can be done best offline.

    Someone who is being dealt with by the Holy Spirit can be saved online or can stop in at a church and be saved offline. They will be just as saved in either case. But more random people on the street are going to be made curious about this "Christianity thing" people are talking about through each of us letting the fruit and gifts of the Spirit work through us than hearing about some website where good things are happening. God can work in either instance, but the increase of the kingdom is more likely to occur when lives are touched and people are changed and those who know them physically see the difference than testimonies made in an online setting.

  3. I will like to be guided on how to start an online church in Nigeria

  4. A'Ampaire David Jan 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Yes! William,

    I fully support online evangelism like I do with offline evangelism here in Uganda, East Africa. I really see an opportunity to share Christ with a person oversees, which is very alright. Now concerning whether a person will truly accept Christ or not is not our concern coz the Lord commanded us to preach. We have not a thing to do with the changes that take place in a person. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to search, change, transform and enrich the inner person.

    Let's go ahead with online evangelism and leave God to do his will for the results.

    And whoever may come across this article and is not yet saved, please, Jesus Christ is Lord. Just accept and believe in him, he will heal not only your spirit but your physical body too. Just call me on this Telephone line and I will pray with you for you in Jesus' Name: +256 779 488517

    Yours, Apostle A'Ampaire David- Uganda, East Africa

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