INCREDIBLE TOOL FOR OUR TIMES
The web/digital revolution is changing how we think and communicate, in ways we are only starting to see. Its impact will be as far-reaching as the invention of the printing press. That changed the world for ever, enabling the Reformation and Renaissance, plus effective evangelism and discipleship.
Christians have been slow to take up new mediums and use them for evangelism. Even now, 10 years after the effective birth of the Internet, the overwhelming majority of Christian websites have been written purely for Christians. And, when we do finally take up a new medium – e.g. radio – we have often tried to squeeze it into the mold of a previous medium. But the Web is not primarily a way of distributing online tracts. We must understand its nature in order to use it effectively.
No website has an automatic audience. The Web is a ‘pull medium’ – in other words, people usually choose to visit a website because it is about a topic that interests them. Most non-Christians are not searching for Christian material online. Therefore, we need to create pages on secular interests and felt needs, if we are to connect with most non-Christians. This is called the ‘Bridge Strategy’.
Church websites – missed potential
Church sites have great potential to reach people in the community. But very few church sites are designed with non-Christians in mind. Yet it is possible to create user-friendly welcoming church sites, which avoid Christian insider language, and actually relate to non-Christians – see this page of tips:
What if we have no-one technical in our church?
There are Christian groups who offer what are called ‘CMS template’ site-building systems. These provide ready-made church sites, in which you add text using your browser. Very little technical knowledge is needed:
The needs worldwide
There are even now relatively few effective outreach sites in the English language. In other languages, the situation is desperate. A highly web-literate country like Japan has a tiny handful of outreach sites. The potential to reach the 100 million web users in mainland China is vast. And the Web offers a vital route to reach many of the ‘10-40 Window’ hard-to-reach countries in Africa and Asia.
Not just for techies!
We cannot emphasize sufficiently: you do not need to be technical to do web evangelism. There are many opportunities for online mentoring/counseling, writing, or ‘chat room’ witness, which need no technical ability at all. You can even build websites on different topics using a ‘CMS’ system.