- Channel topics
- Finding faithHow people become Christians
- Effective communicationApproaches for biblical communication
- Bridge the gapMeeting people on the common ground of their interests & needs
- Bridging opportunitiesExamples and opportunities for using the Bridge Strategy
- Using cultureTypes of culture; understanding & using culture in evangelism
- Websites that workIssues for site planning, usability and promotion
- Problems in evangelismThings that stop us being effective
- Mission opportunitiesDigital evangelism & cross-cultural mission, mission & literature resources
- Writing wellHow to write effectively for the web or print media
A Communication Channel page
... our resource covering a wide range of evangelism issues
View entire listing here or use left-hand subject menu.
Free: articles are freely available to republish or adapt for print media, and can be syndicated into websites using a simple insert code.
The problem is – it’s free
Barriers to Web Evangelism
One problem with the Internet: it is free! How does this impact Web evangelism?
There are many ministries which produce evangelistic materials for others to use – literature, video, etc. Often these things are sold (or offered on a donation basis) so that although they may be free to non-Christian end-users, they are paid for those using them. This funds the production costs of the materials, new product development and often also pays the support of the staff producing them.
However, in online evangelism, there is no ‘product’ to sell. Neither is it usually appropriate for evangelistic websites to attempt to sell things or appeal for donations, so there is little opportunity to recoup costs this way.
The result of this is that most evangelistic sites and blogs fit into these categories:
- produced by individual Christians in their spare-time.
- produced by large organizations who have the resources to fund staff and equipment dedicated to online evangelism.
- church sites, which may or may not be outsider-friendly.
Compare and contrast that, as exam questions say, with the numbers of people directly involved in radio evangelism, in evangelistic literature production, in audio and video cassette recording and TV. Online evangelism represents a very small percentage.
Why do we devote so few resources to online evangelism? It’s not because the church has failed to notice the Internet. There are thousands of Christian sites out there – but they are mainly written for Christians.
The poor relationAs ever, it seems that evangelism is the poor relation. Christian books published by the thousand, but mainly written to build up Christians. DVDs by the shelf-load, but mainly for believers.
And even when staff do have the opportunity to be full-time on the Internet, ministry policy may require them to raise their own support. It’s not something that many are comfortable with doing, but it has become a necessary task for many. It is often very hard for full-time workers who do not work in a glamorous overseas ministry to raise support. An additional hurdle is that the average church member does not understand what a web evangelist actually does all day.
Happily, the democratic grass-roots nature of the Internet means that evangelism is not just in the hands of full-timers. So much is done by Christians in their spare-time – writing web-pages, blogging, or just relating to the wider digital world through many forms of social networking
But full-timers are needed too. They have the time for follow-up, for research, for learning new techniques, for counseling, for designing technically-advanced specialist pages and culturally-relevant sites in foreign languages for countries which do not have the resources to produce their own.
Advocacy appealSo here is an appeal and challenge:
- to individual Christians and churches: financially support and encourage ministries involved in web evangelism.
- to churches: recognize, encourage and pray for any in the fellowship who do sparetime online evangelism, and aim to make your church website outsider-friendly.
- to evangelistic organizations: employ staff for direct involvement in online evangelism, even though there is no product to sell.
- to Bible Colleges: offer training for digital ministry.
- to mission agencies: consider how you could integrate web ministry into your current outreach programs.
- to web evangelists: constantly try to be an advocate for this medium. Ask for opportunities to take meetings or seminars, submit articles or news items to print and online publications, and demonstrate the results of your ministry by telling the stories of lives that have been changed.
- to everyone: challenge and enthuse Christians to see the possibilities in web evangelism, and pray for God to raise up ministries and evangelists who can use this medium to the full.