10 ways the internet is changing evangelism and missions

Have you thought about how the internet is changing missions?

John Edmiston certainly has. In an article at the Lausanne World Pulse, he lists 10 ways the internet is changing evangelism and missions. It’s clear from his list that the internet is providing unique ways for Christians to make themselves available. It’s also clear that in order to be visible to the vast majority of the population, you need to be visible online.

Within five years, at least half the globe should be online; within fifteen years, Internet reach should be almost universal. Global proclamation will soon be within the reach of any Christian with a computer.

Here are three of the 10 items from Edmiston’s list. You can read the rest at Ten Ways the Internet is Changing Evangelism and Mission:

2. Ratiocination. People “think aloud” in cyberspace. The theology and practice (including ecclesiology and missiology) of most Christians is now primarily formed as a peer-to-peer online process with occasional expert input. There is less and less reference to decisions promulgated by the central governing ecclesiastical bodies of the major world religions. People do their own thinking, and they do so increasingly online through sources such as Wikipedia; out-of-copyright commentaries; and through browsing various websites, e-groups, and postings on social networks. Those ministries who wish to influence opinion need to start doing so in cyberspace, because that is where Christian opinion is now largely being formed.

3. Exploration. People do their private, personal, and controversial thinking online. If a person wants to find out about a suspected medical matter or investigate a forbidden political opinion, they first check it out online. A Muslim wishing to find out about Christianity is not likely to ask his or her family or imam; rather, he or she will look at Christian websites. About one-quarter of all Internet users make regular queries about religious matters. They are exploring their own and other faiths. The Church needs to have an evangelistic, apologetic, and missionary presence in this new global marketplace of ideas.


5. Validation. People use the Internet to check things out. This applies to everything from a “too-good-to-be-true” investment scam to the local church they plan to attend when they move to a new city. One oft-quoted statistic is that eighty-five percent of young people check out a church’s website before deciding whether or not to even visit that church in the first place. Churches and organizations that are easy to validate online have a huge competitive advantage. This includes having a clear statement of faith and making your ethos, programs, meeting times, address, contact information, operating principles, and finances clear and above board to the honest online enquirer.

Read the rest of the article at LausanneWorldPulse.org.

The site you’re on right now, Gospel.com, was started three years ago in order to highlight Christian content from smaller internet ministries who might have previously been overlooked. Our goal is to facilitate numbers 3 (exploring) and 5 (validating) above.

Even a short three years later, the time and monetary cost of establishing a digital presence has gone way down. Now, it’s trivial to start up a blog and a Facebook page for any idea you might have. What this means is that individuals, ministries and churches have it easier than ever to make themselves available to people seeking information about Christ and Christianity.

How have you seen the internet change how you interact with your faith? Have you ever used the internet as a platform for evangelism?

7 Responses to “10 ways the internet is changing evangelism and missions”

  • JR Whitby says:

    John’s comments are insightful in using technology in missions. I believe we must use every medium possible to proclaim the good news. However, the internet is by definition a literate medium in that you must be able to read and write to access its content. What is also needed beyond the internet however are creative ways to reach the roughly 2/3 of the world’s population who do not, cannot or will not read or just prefer to learn orally.

  • Sean Scott says:

    Mr. Whitby’s comment brings up the reminder that 2/3 of the world does not read or have internet access. In those places, traditional missions are still the way to go. Christians should be at the forefront in alleviating suffering and combating evil with good everywhere.

    However, I firmly believe that God has me where He created me to be: Web Ministry.

    I began working with computers early on, I went to college and worked with them, and like most of us, a computer is an essential tool in my 9-5 job with a daily newspaper.

    I have been an internet user for a long time and have taken advantage of social platforms such as chat rooms, commenting, forums, and social networking websites.

    In my job I went from being a photographer, to becoming a graphics and layout person, and now I am also the primary person who updates the website.

    Then, not quite three years ago, I got saved. One of the first things I realized early on, was I had been trained and equipped through my life’s circumstances to do web ministry. I have long wrestled with the notion that I should be a pastor, going back years to when I thought myself tobe an atheist. It may be too late for me to go back to school and retrain myself for the puplit, but I built and maintain the website for my church, I write a blog, I comment often on mainstream media websites on stories from God’s point of view, and I subtly work in stories about religion and people doing good on the newspaper website.

    The internet is largely the playground of the younger generations, those who are now growing up outside of churches, and where the mere mention of God in public can set heads spinning and set off the cell phones of attorneys. These are the people in America who need to be reached. Web ministry is not just about making believers feel good and telling them when the next youth group bake sale is. It is really about being a light for Christ in the darkness of cyberspace.

  • […] 10 ways the internet is changing evangelism and missions: “Have you thought about how the internet is changing missions? […]

  • Kara says:

    The above answerer is correct about the fact that web ministry is reaching a generation that appears to move away from traditional churches. Churches these days have to get Internet saavy if they want to see more young people getting saved. This means having a Facebook page and a interactive web site if at all possible. Ministry should not be entirely based on the Internet but the Internet should be a facet that churches focus on. It can be used to reach the younger generation(18-30) worldwide.

  • Jason says:

    The Internet is changing the way evangelism and missions are conducted. Matters of religion are much more openly discussed in online forums. A lot of people that seek answers to questions about life would be much more inclined to express themselves on websites and blogs.

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  • Cliff says:

    God is always with man in all things, so let us see it as a good work by the Lord, with his people are coming together and souls are being saved on the internet. This is the Lords doing,and it it good in hi sight.