It seems that in today's crazy, busy mindset, church attendance seems to be on the decline. As a result, more and more people are losing out on the opportunity to hear about the wonderful life that Jesus offers. Internet evangelism is the key to reaching more people for Christ around the world. Sharing the gospel online provides the opportunity for churches to reach far more people than those in their geographic reach. Internet evangelism enables even the smallest of churches to become international or worldwide Christian ministries.
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Internet Evangelism Must be a Church Priority
The primary mission of the church is to share the gospel and bring more people into community and to knowing Jesus. If fewer people are physically visiting the church, is the church becoming obsolete? Absolutely not! The “church” is not just the physical building that people visit. The church is the entire body of the church leaders, along with regular, everyday people who go out and minister to others. The physical building is not a requirement for people to come to know Christ. (Jesus spoke to God from the forest and from the top of hills.). Although physical meetings are preferred, it is not an absolute requirement in order for people to find community and fellowship. Online communities can fill that need as well.
If fewer people are actually visiting the physical church, then church leaders must go where the people are – online. Internet evangelism is paramount for churches to continue reaching more people for Christ. While they should continue to grow their physical congregations, they must also work on growing their virtual congregations as well. Without focusing on internet evangelism and making it a priority, many smaller churches may simply disappear.
What is Evangelism?
Evangelism is simply the sharing of the gospel to others. Traditionally, that came from pastors/preachers at a physical church, as well as from missionaries going out into the community and spreading the gospel to others. Evangelism also happens when everyday people like you and me, those who aren't formally trained in theology, simply talk to others about Jesus. You don't need a Seminary degree to be an evangelist!Internet evangelism is simply taking the gospel to where the people are, which in online. Click To Tweet
The Challenges of Evangelism
There are many challenges to evangelism in today's world. The demographics of society are much different today with single-parent families and families with both parents working. Also, many churches fail to update their approaches to reaching people and often times their sermons and practices don't meet the needs of these new demographics.
Time – One reason for the decline in physical church attendance is time. Yes, people will come up with all sorts of excuses to miss church! But, the reality is that many people do have to work on the weekends, including Sunday, when most churches conduct their sermons. I conducted a survey on this topic and the majority of responses listed working hours as the primary reason they didn't attend church regularly. (A majority of those same respondents stated they watched sermons online when they couldn't attend church due to work.)
Outdated Sermons – Another struggle that many churches face in reaching new people (or keeping current members) is an outdated mindset. The truth is that many people today don't relate to traditional sermons. Speaking from personal experience, I left the church many years ago because the sermons didn't speak to me – except to say I was going to hell for just about everything I did. What I needed was to learn how to apply Biblical principles to everyday life. How to seek God through the struggles of this decade.
Outdated Mindset – The demographics of our society is much different than it was 20 years ago. Churches lose a lot of members because of outdated and discriminatory mindsets. Whether someone is gay or straight, a stripper or a doctor, we ALL sin. Too many churches today are still treating members according to how they live or their “status.” I meet people all the time who stopped going to church because they were gay or had a child out of wedlock and their church made them feel unwelcomed. The God I know hung out with sinners from all walks of life – and so should every church.
Money (Tithe) – Unfortunately, the acts of a few can significantly affect the masses. People are naturally skeptical of churches because they always ask for money. Of course, you can't grow a ministry, pay the bills, create new outreach programs, etc., without money, but the church scandals of the past still affect the willingness of parishioners to give. Many people leave their church because they disagree with how funds are being spent. Not that they are being frivolous with them, but they don't see the money being spent effectively to increase the Kingdom (outdated uses). The reality is, however, without people giving to the church, the church can't expand and outreach in new ways.
How to Overcome the Challenges of Evangelism
Some challenges may be more difficult than others to overcome, but some are much simpler to accomplish. Churches must “keep up with the Joneses” so to speak. The Bible is the Bible and the Word is absolute. But HOW the word is shared is the crucial element in bringing more people to Christ. The way people think and learn today is much different than 20 years ago. Even the military adjusted their training methods to using video games because that is how young recruits' brains are wired today. Churches must update their methods of sharing the gospel with others -both within the physical church and online. The use of Internet evangelism is paramount for churches to continue building the Kingdom.
Internet Evangelism – Jesus Online
The easiest way to reach more people for the Kingdom is to go where the people are to share the good news. Our society is literally addicted to their smartphones, the Internet, and social media. Exact numbers vary slightly depending on the source, but adults spend an average of 11 hours of their day engaging with some form of online activity. Could these platforms be the “new church” where we share the gospel and take more people to heaven?
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
For the most part, the internet is filled with negative and “not-so-Christian” content. Anyone can put content out there – even churches. Satan is smart! He knows that our society roams freely on the internet with limited “interference” from God's army. That MUST change! Churches, along with anyone who has a knack for writing or creating faith-filled content must take up arms on this new battleground and take Jesus to every nook and cranny of the online world! Internet evangelism can take the love of Jesus to literally anyone with an internet connection.
Using Social Media for Evangelism
Social media is one of the best ideas for internet evangelism because this is now the mode of communication for people in our society. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, conversations are being conducted on all topics under the sun. Some of the more popular “trending” churches such as Church Unlimited, Life Church, and Elevation Church have really made an impact and set a standard for internet evangelism. They have really taken the gospel outside of the physical church building and are reaching more people for Christ through their live video sermons, Youtube channels, and social media platforms.
Ideas for using social media to share the gospel online
Private Facebook Groups – These are becoming more and more popular because they are a great way to build a “virtual” life group community of other Christians. For those that don't go to a physical church, these groups provide a network of like-minded Christians coming together online for support and fellowship. I'm personally in several online ministry groups where I chat with other Christian women daily, as well as doing video conferencing with them. This really helps for us to build a relationship even though we don't live in the same town. Some of the women in my groups are on a different continent!
Online Bible Studies – These can be accomplished through the private groups or through regularly scheduled live feeds on a social channel. For people living in smaller towns or maybe those who are new to a town and haven't found an in-person group, these online Bible Studies are a perfect way to share the gospel online and connect people who otherwise would never meet!
Live Feeds – Facebook (and other social channels) provide the ability to go live to their audience. These live events can be long (such as broadcasting the regular sermon as it is happening) or shorter ones throughout the week to simply pop in and offer encouragement. For those who don't attend a physical church, many of them regularly watch a sermon being broadcast online.Social Media evangelism can minister to the masses and provide much-needed faith-filled influence to our youth! Click To Tweet
Be sure to follow these great social media ministries:
- CU Students (Facebook)(Instagram)- Middle and High School Ministry of Church Unlimited
- The Joey Weller – Young father/husband and Teen Ministry Pastor
- Church Unlimited – Instagram for Church Unlimited
Youtube – Videos are becoming increasingly popular across all types of online content, but especially so for Christian content. Aside from broadcasting a sermon or Bible Study live, they can be uploaded to a Youtube Channel for watching anytime. In addition to churches, many regular people (not church leaders) are becoming internet evangelists through the creation of faith-filled Youtube channels for every area of living a Christian life.
Some great (new) Christian Youtube channels to follow:
- He Inspired Me – Inspiration to equip you to be the man God has called you to be!
- Hebrews 12 Endurance – Encourages you to Know God. Know yourself. Run your race. You do this when you spend time reading the Bible or talking to God in prayer. This is the concept behind Hebrews12Endurance and every piece of content is focused on getting you into a deeper relationship with Christ so that you can live the life God created you to live.
- Nina Slay 4 Christ – This channel is for people with all types of sexual history or not. You will find encouragement, tips, and my Christian testimony on how I became a born-again virgin (not biblical doctrine but more of a transformative mindset) to help in the process of being restored. By breaking free from your sexual past, you will start walking in the abundance of the freedom Jesus Christ has given you.
Internet Evangelism and the Christian Blogger
Another important, but often overlooked avenue of internet evangelism is the Christian blogger. There are over 5 billion searches conducted on Google daily. Google has basically become a way for us to find an answer to just about everything. That is over 5 billion daily opportunities to present a Jesus answer to someone! Christian blogs are becoming increasingly popular and cover a variety of areas from marriage and parenting to Bible studies, to more niche topics related to faith. There are even Christian blogs designed for specific age groups such as Christian college students and those in an older season of life. No matter what someone is searching for online, a Christian blog can provide an answer from God and possibly change someone's life!
For a church, a blog is a great way to get more traffic to your actual website, as well as your social channels where they can experience God through your video sermons and interactions online. And before you begin to worry about hiring someone to manage a blog to your website, I'm sure you can find at least a handful of members of your church willing to serve by writing the content and/or even managing it. Not sure how to get started? How to Start a Christian Blog Ministry has you covered!
Internet Evangelism is Crucial!
Although many families do continue to attend physical church regularly, it is imperative that churches and ministry leaders understand make Internet evangelism a priority in growing their ministries. Not just in growing their own ministries, but simply for helping more people across the globe to know the love of Christ! Even beyond the church leaders, regular, everyday Christians can evangelize across the planet by starting Christian blogs or using their social media channels to share the gospel to their audiences.
If you are a church struggling to reach new members or simply wanting to learn how to take your ministry online, reach out to us and we'd be happy to help! We have a whole team of experts on every aspect on Internet Evangelism from starting a blog on your website to learning how to use the different social channels to reach new people.
We'd love to hear your opinion or ideas about the importance of sharing the gospel online! Leave us a comment below and share what you think!