Don C. Warrington, Guest Writer for Leonard C. Albert and Laity Alive Ministries
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation…’” (Mark 16:15 NAS) It was Jesus’ last command to His disciples; it is His command to us. How is it to be done? One way is through the Internet, which itself spans the globe. When we place things on the Net, we literally place something that is accessible to anyone on the globe. But will they read it?
The Internet, like any other communications medium, has its own specific characteristics and ways to get things done effectively. Knowing these can make whatever spreading the Gospel you plan to do there more effective and eternity changing for someone. Here are some pointers you need to keep in mind if you are planning to set up an evangelising we b site or interact with others on the Net:
The Web is a “pull” medium. Radio and television, for instance, are “push” media in that the viewer or listener are passive recipients of whatever is going out. With the Internet, if someone doesn’t like what you’ve got there, you’re one mouse click from oblivion. Moreover it’s unreasonable to assume that people with no prior interest in Christianity are going to hunt out a Christian site just for itself. You should, for instance, consider using a personal or other interest site as a gateway to material that presents the Gospel.
Avoid Churchspeak. As Christians we have developed an elaborate language and vocabulary to talk about what’s important to us. Unfortunately others are completely in the dark about what we are saying when we speak of “being saved” or “blessed” or “delivered.” Try to avoid such terminology because those who read it may get the wrong message – or none at all.
Treat the Internet like a cult. One the reasons we developed our Witnessing to the Cults seminar is to train people to share the Gospel with people into cults and alternative religions. Many witnessing techniques – even the best ones – presuppose some kind of Christian background. On the Net you can plan on being visited by Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, New Agers, and very secular people, who many find the “Roman Road” or like path rather curious. So to start you need to address them “where they’re at” to the best of your ability.
Don’t try to be all things to all people. God put you here with specific gifts and a specific testimony to reach specific people. So present what God has given to you on the Net and not what He expects others to do. There are people who need to hear what you have to say when they won’t listen to anyone else.
Register with the search engines. The search engines (such as Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite, etc.) don’t cover as much of the Web as one would like but they do cover more than you’ll get to. Without the search engines your site will be a lonely one. You can obtain software to do this or use a registration service; with the major search engines, though, the best way is to do it yourself.
Get as many links to your page as possible. Hyperlinks are what makes the Web the Web. Links from other Christian sites are nice for Christians but are not very evangelistic. If you have a secular interest site of some kind, this is good because you will get links from places you wouldn’t otherwise.
Do it in love. This is almost trite but on the Net it’s important. You need to draw people in; that won’t happen without something positive.
The Internet is an opportunity for Christians to share their faith with others. The more places the Gospel appears on the Net the more possibilities there are to share it. You may reach someone the big, expensive Christian sites cannot. But then again that’s always been the way with the laity – called to reach those whom they were brought into the world to reach.