Chat rooms

How to start in evangelism

Millions of people around the world visit chat rooms every day. They are wanting to communicate with others – so this gives you many opportunities to share your faith.

“I love being able to tell people about Jesus online,” says Lucy, 15
However, we must tell others the Good News in the right way or we may actually turn people away from Jesus. 1 Pet. 3:15 stresses the use of sensitivity when we share the Gospel with others: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...” (NIV) An insensitive or argumentative attitude will completely compromise the message you are trying to communicate.

It is wise to ask your Christian leader for their opinion as to whether you are suitable for this sort of ministry. Even if they say you are, it is in any case good to do this sort of witness with the encouragement and prayers of your church's leaders. They may also be able to help you with classes on personal witnessing or suggest books on the subject – see also our book recommendations.

We must also understand the potential personal dangers, especially for younger people.

Starting out

Before a chat session

Important things to do

What NOT to do

Stranger danger

Not everyone in a chat room is what they seem. There are pedophiles and other predatory people who visit teen (and other) chat rooms pretending to be nice. Young people in particular should follow these guidelines. Older Christians too have sometimes been sucked into wrong relationships online.

These are real dangers and bad things have happened to young people who were too trusting of so-called online 'friends'.

Learning from others

We can learn from others who are experienced in chat room evangelism. Maybe there is someone in your church or neighborhood who would give a seminar about it. It is a good activity for a youth group to be involved in. Why not start learning about chat in a predominantly Christian environment. For instance ACTS on the Net have a page of advice and chat abbreviations. Then when you have learned some of the procedures, you can branch out into secular chat rooms. If you have some understanding of other religions (and here is a good opportunity for returned/retired missionaries), you can visit chat rooms in even semi-closed countries. One man speaks of “witnessing in Kuala Lumpur every Saturday night” – by chat room.

It is also possible to visit chat rooms which have a defined subject area – for instance a hobby or a special interest. These people are there to talk about the defined topic, and will not welcome attempts to force conversation over to religion. See this sort of chat room evangelism as similar to joining a club on something that interests you, rather than going witnessing on the streets. Only join if you share the hobby or interest, and wait for opportunities to arise, rather than taking the initiative.

Read a personal account of chat room witness from Dave Tatham.

There are several ministries who can give advice and help:

It is also possible to share your faith through newsgroups, email, bulletin boards and instant messaging systems.

Larger Christian groups sometimes use their own chat rooms both for evangelism and discipleship as part of co-ordinated approach, with trained moderators.

Detailed explanation of chat – from Wikipedia

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