“Lost” opportunities on the Web

Being used by Holy Spirit (Part 2 in a series)

Rev. Don Walley, Director The aXiom Network | www.theaxiomnetwork.comOne of the principle ministries of the Holy Spirit is to draw the Lost to Christ. Yet, one of the mysteries of His ministries is that He chooses to use Believers (and sometimes unbelievers and natural creation) as part of His work of Salvation. Doesn’t it make sense that in our work to complement the Spirit’s ministry that we provide as many resources for Him to draw on as possible.

I believe it’s safe to say that most Church websites provide few if any tools for the Holy Spirit to utilize in His internet evangelism ministry. Most churches have little vision for moving their sites from “informing” sites to “transforming” sites. We call these BUFU (“by us/for us”) sites with little regard, intentionally or not, for those outside their fellowship or around the world. We believe the Church can and should do better to have a greater evangelistic impact. What’s the best way to address this need?

For some time the Spirit has been able to count on Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, The Navigators, Campus Crusade and others websites to provide the Gospel to online seekers. And, apparently it’s working. They consistently report increases in new believers. These wonderful para-organizations have long had a vision for an effective online evangelism strategy. My question is why isn’t the Church engaging the Online Seeker as well?

In our casual observation of thousands of websites our unofficial guess is that less than 5% of churches offer the Gospel on their websites. With nearly 375,000 Churches of all stripes in the U.S., many of whom still have no online presence at all, that’s less than 20,000 (no one has firm numbers to my knowledge).

Of course, like all opportunities (pulpit, tracts, 1:1, small groups, crusades, “Evangelism Emphasis Day” or any other venue) there’s no guarantee many, or any, will discover eternal life at any given time, much less at the exact moment we’re willing and able to make it available.

The principle drawback to these tools is that they’re all limited by time/place/people constraints. With few exceptions, once a sermon is preached its long term effectiveness is limited by those who heard it at a specific time and place. Time and place pretty much limit the longterm effectiveness of the rest of these tools as well. And. it’s been the case since Pentecost. But, no longer…

Next Time: Working in tandem with the Spirit in Online Evangelism

Serving with you,

Rev. Don Walley, Director
The aXiom Network
www.theaxiomnetwork.com

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Rev. Don Walley is Director of The aXiom Network, an effort of, by and for U.S. Churches to call 100,000 U.S. Churches to offer the Gospel on their websites and networking them with nearly 150,000 U.S. Churches at affiliate sites. The aXiom Network provides The 3 Keys to Effective Online Evangelism for the local Church and offers Road Swap Gospel Templates as its principle tool for engaging the Online Seeker. For what he calls the "OnGen" (the generation that's always Online) Don believes this and future generations will first go online to discover salvation before they enter a church's doors. The aXiom Network is committed to helping Churches optimize their online presence so the world may hear the Good News of Jesus Christ: this generation and beyond. Don's passions include family, computers and helping Churches use online technology to grow through leadership development, small group ministry, online evangelism initiatives and discipleship training. His ThM in Theology and years of ministry prepared him for his time as Pastor in New England, experiences with Campus Crusade, BGEA, Church Consultant with T-Net and associate staff with Navigators/CDM. He is ordainted and is a Master Instructor in website design, database development, networking and desktop applications (MS Certified). For the last several years he has engaged the Church in becoming more effective in its online ministry. With the advent of the Web, Don, and others developed several online tools to grow the U.S. Church including the world’s largest directory of U.S. Churches designed initially to help U.S. Navy Chaplains locate Churches for transferring sailors and families.

11 Responses to ““Lost” opportunities on the Web”

  1. Rev. Walley, thanks for your guest post. Can you provide us with links to churches you think are doing a good job of engaging online seekers?

  2. Rev. Don Walley May 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    070710 7:430p ET

    We will put some data together for you.

    In the meantime, I can illustrate how The aXiom Network envisions Online Evangelism be carried out with a model/demo site created for our ministry model: View at:http://uschurchpro.com/

    We would also appreciate your input on our "5 | 7 |10 Survey" we just completed. While it's brand new, it may give some additional insights into where we, as the Church in the U.S. stand. You can learn more at:http://www.theaxiomnetwork.com/survey_gospel.shtm

  3. Rev. Don Walley May 7, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    070710 7:430p ET

    We will put some data together for you.

    In the meantime, I can illustrate how The aXiom Network envisions Online Evangelism be carried out with a model/demo site created for our ministry model: View at:http://uschurchpro.com/

    We would also appreciate your input on our "5 | 7 |10 Survey" we just completed. While it's brand new, it may give some additional insights into where we, as the Church in the U.S. stand. You can learn more at:http://www.theaxiomnetwork.com/survey_gospel.shtm

    • I would have your survey change the question about "why NOT". I skipped that question because our web site does–and then had to redo it because you required an answer. It did not compute with me.
      God Bless your efforts.
      Richard Sipes, New Covenant Baptist Church, Grand Junction CO http://www.newcovenantgj.org/

  4. We use a FIND IT HERE intro video for seekers on our church home page: http://www.newcovenantgj.org/index.php
    The link from that video then takes you to other video testimonies and a presentation of the gospel message in text form. We ask those who surrender to Christ as Lord to then let us know on the contact page.
    Although we have not had a lot of traffic, I think it is fairly well done.
    What do you think?

    • Richard, I think the video is on the right track, but to be honest it looks like a commercial rather than the testimonies of real people. In fact when go to findithere.com, it specifically says ":30 television ad." All of the testimonies seem to be anonymous, attractive, well-dressed people who are making a perfect delivery of well-rehearsed lines which is well produced with multiple camera angles and nice background music. If I was a skeptic, I would be skeptical of these videos.

      I'm not suggesting you remove it because it's definitely better than the majority of church sites that don't attempt to connect with seekers at all. But an even better approach would be to have real people in your church introduce themselves with their real names and tell their raw stories. You don't need fancy cameras and production equipment. The goal should be authenticity.

  5. good observations.
    I think there is a still a lot of fear and contempt of the internet.
    There are even Churches who use the web but more like a checkbox – did it, tick – with no follow though. But the opportunity is huge; with online engagement during the week we can reduce the the number of weekend only Christians and reach 1000s if not millions more.