The Internet is rapidly growing. It is estimated that it doubles in size every six months and that somebody new joins the cyber-world every 10 seconds. Current estimates put the total number of Internet users world-wide at more than 300 million, with 170 million people using the Internet in English.
Christians are often shocked at the evil made possible by new developments in technology. The Internet does indeed give access to every evil imaginable, and wickedness is frighteningly close – just a few clicks of a ‘mouse’ away. However, that does not make this communication medium inherently evil of itself. The Internet provides huge, previously unimaginable opportunities to preach Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of sinners.
Just as the printed word made it possible for many forms of evil to be propagated around the world but also gave people the great privilege of being able to have the Bible, God’s Word, written in their own language and in their own hands, so the Internet has opened up new vistas for good or evil. Christians must not be slow to rise to the challenge.
The rapidly expanding cyber-community, and the speed and cheapness of information-sharing, makes the Internet the newest and potentially one of the greatest evangelistic tools at our disposal today.
The Internet contains a large number of ‘chat rooms’ where thousands of people ‘chat’ to each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A chat room is a system of communication rather like speaking to a room full of people at once, only your ‘conversation’ with them is mediated by the written rather than the spoken word, and it takes place via computers.
These chat rooms give us an incredible opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world without even having to leave our homes. They provide a non-threatening way to communicate and enter other people’s homes. They also give those we talk to the opportunity to ask questions, share problems and talk very openly, because they can remain as anonymous as they wish.
In our experience we have found that people have opened up and talked about things in a way that they would not normally have done in a face-to-face encounter. It is obvious to us that the security of being in their own home, talking through a computer screen, plus the power to end the conversation with no explanation in just a single click of the mouse, liberates people. It gives them a greater sense of freedom to talk about Christ and the way of salvation. In many cases what begins as an anonymous chat turns into regular e-mail correspondence, with an opportunity to form a friendship and share more of the truth of the Bible.
On two occasions recently I have begun chatting to somebody about the Lord, only to discover that the previous night they had been crying out to God to help them if he was really there. They were both shocked at how God had chosen to answer their prayers to him. It is exciting to see how God has worked in their lives.
Recently I went on-line for less than two hours and as a result I am now in regular e-mail contact with a ‘white’ witch in the USA and a Buddhist in Thailand, who is now reading some of the Bible. I also talked at length with two others; one who goes to church and another that stopped attending many years ago. It never ceases to amaze and excite me that God can use someone sitting in a lounge in the UK to challenge people all over the world. It can take so little time to make such a big impact!
One of the great things about e-vangelism is that anyone who has a computer can be involved in the ‘great commission’ of our Lord and go into all the world and preach the gospel. There is no need to be a certain age or have great experience. In fact it is an excellent way for young people or those new to Christian things to engage in evangelism, as it encourages them to share their faith with others, and confidence is gained as a preparation for face-to-face situations.
Many would consider that a mother, a housewife, someone with a disability, or somebody requiring regular hospital treatment, could not leave home to go on missionary work abroad. But now they can, as often as they want! Through the Internet we can speak to people all over the world at any time of the day or night. Whoever you are, if you want others to know about Christ, then you can give some of your spare time to e-vangelise on the Internet.
e-vangelism.org.uk is a mission organisation set up to assist those who wish to talk about Christ on the chat rooms of the Internet in their spare time. If you would like to be involved in this work in any way, then please contact me or visit our web site (Tel. 01229 885249, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ).