‘Net’ has changed, but we are still called to be fishers of men

Published 12:00am Saturday, April 20, 2013

Recently, I read some interesting information about what happens every minute on the Internet.

According to the article, 204 million emails are sent every minute and some 47,000 apps are downloaded.  There are 2 million search queries on Google and 277,000 of the 6 million Facebook users login every minute.

The Internet has experienced incredible growth the past 15 years.  More than 2 billion people use the worldwide web, and there are 4 billion who own mobile phones.  We now live in a digital world.

When Jesus proclaimed The Great Commission to, “Go into the entire world and preach the gospel,” His disciples would have traveled on foot to preach the gospel. As time has marched on, missionaries and evangelists have traveled by boat, car and airplane to faraway places to preach the gospel.

Advances in technology have enabled Christians to communicate the gospel in cyberspace. When Jesus called His followers to be fishers of men, who could have imagined a “net” large enough to reach most of the world in an instant? People living in countries where it is difficult to share the gospel can hear the Good News of Jesus Christ through the “net.”

A group of international Christian ministries has formed the Internet Evangelism Coalition. The term “evangelism” is defined as “spreading the Christian gospel by preaching or personal witness.”

It has organized Internet Evangelism Day on Sunday, April 21. Actually, the entire month of April is the focus for digital evangelism.  Their website, internetevangelismday.com, provides a year-round resource guide for all aspects of digital evangelism and free downloads, PowerPoint, video clips, drama scripts and music for churches to explain the Internet’s potential for telling the gospel any time of the year.

Internet evangelism is different that evangelism in person. The website resource states, “Web users may ask questions or discuss needs that they would never be comfortable to do face-to-face.”

Churches are encouraged to and instructed on how to start a website to evangelize.  “What happens when a church creates a website with just its members in mind? Only the members read it! But what is the result when a church has a site specifically designed to reach outsiders, in user-friendly language, which connects with their lives?

“The Internet is one of the key tools that God has given us in the church today,” writes George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization. “The IE Day team hopes for a range of outcomes. High on their list is the potential to use Facebook and social networking to share the good news. ‘It’s an exciting challenge,’ says IE Day coordinator Tony Whittaker. ‘The potential of the Web is enormous.’”

You can “like” their Facebook page or go to their website to learn more about Internet Evangelism. Jesus foretold, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matthew 24:14).  Two centuries ago, John Wesley said, “I look upon the entire world as my parish…and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.”

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Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist.  Her email address is jwhite@andycable.com.

 

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