He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010 

Five More Ways the Internet Is Changing Evangelism and Missions

  • Allocation of Resources. The Internet is allowing donors, foundations, and churches to efficiently assess projects and receive applications for funding across national boundaries. Groups such as JIMI (the Joint Information Management Initiative of the WEA-MC) and the Global Missions Fund are trying to refine this process of allocation so that the ministries who are most worthy are most funded. A big part of this is having trusted mission information facilitators who regularly supply quality information in a secure format so that it can be used for resource allocation purposes.

  • Proclamation. The gospel is being proclaimed on websites, in chat rooms, on YouTube, on cell phones, and on numerous Internet-connected devices. Evangelistic crusades are using the Internet both as a decision mechanism and as a follow-up mechanism. Organizations such as Global Media Outreach, Jesus Central, TopChretien, and GodRev specialize in purely online outreach, while many churches and organizations use the Internet as an augmentation of existing outreach strategies. The Internet is an economical means of proclamation and Internet missionaries do not need visas!

  • Education. Online education has been a huge success and has revitalized Theological Education by Extension (TEE) and distance education. Groups such as MAF Learning technologies are working at developing highly effective Internet-based pedagogy. Many Masters and PhD programs are now partly or wholly via Internet-based distance education.

  • Mobilization. The Internet facilitates making connections and imparting information and motivation necessary for effective mobilization of pastors, evangelists, and missionaries into the global harvest. ChristianVolunteering.org matches tens of thousands of volunteers with Christian agencies. A ministry without an online presence will soon find it very challenging to gain new recruits, since for many people, the ministry simply will “not exist.”

  • Multiplication. The Internet brings leverage to networks and enables contacts to be made for the multiplication of house and cell churches, church-planting movements, and small TEE-based (Theological Education by Extension) Bible colleges resourced via an Internet-based curriculum.
  • Many people start searching for a new church by going online, start their search for information about God online, and start forming their theology online. Missionaries deciding which organization they will serve with, or students deciding on which Bible college to attend, will use online information to narrow down their choices. The Internet is not the be-all and end-all of ministry; however, it is quickly becoming the starting point for most ministry. I used to think of the Internet as a tool for outreach, much like having your own radio program. Now I see it as an ocean in which we must sink or swim.

    - John Edmiston, Cybermissions.org

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