In this world of anti-Christmas sentiment and increasing oppression against Christians, it becomes more vital every day that the Church do all in her power to reach people with the message of love and hope that is in Jesus. That being true, there is a largely untapped potential for outreach that is being virtually ignored by the majority of pastors and congregations. The Internet.
Yes, there are hundreds, or thousands, of Christian Websites online, but so few of them represent the organized Church. The majority are personal sites or Christian businesses. While there is plenty of room online, and a need for this type site, the Church is almost conspicuous by her absence.
Perhaps it's because of fear?
So much has been said of the dangers and temptations of surfing the Web that many Christians feel there is an inherent evil to be found online.
While there is danger and temptation available, in the form of increased exposure to pornography, identity theft, fraud, etc., the Internet is no more "bad" - in and of itself - than television or radio. And look at the potential we've found there.
Radio has been instrumental in reaching millions of people world-wide who might never have heard the gospel. And while television is abused by those who seek to profit from God's Church, there is still much good being done through that media. Few would argue its value as an outreach tool. The same is true of the Web.
As Christians, we must guard our hearts and minds against the enemy's attacks, whatever format they take... through sound-waves, video waves or a computer screen. That will never change. But what must change is the Church's fear of, and aversion to, using the Internet to win souls.
Utilizing a common sense approach to develop an online presence, the Internet can provide an extremely low-cost method of sharing the gospel, ministering to the hurting and poor in spirit, maintaining contact with prospects, and encouraging deeper fellowship among believers and members.
If with Paul, we can say that we "have become all things to all men, that [we] might by all means save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22, NKJV), then let us recognize the Internet for what it is... a relevant method for sharing Christ in the 21st Century.
Darlene "Dee" Bishop
Copyright © 2005 by Darlene Bishop. All rights reserved worldwide.
Darlene "Dee" Bishop is a Nazarene pastor, creative designer and writer. Visit her Website at http://christiansitesolutions.com to see how she can help your church create an affordable Internet presence and develop effective online solutions today.
(The article is available to general media, publications and webmasters under condition that the author's name and the link to www.paulmurphybooks.com will be provided under the article.)