Internet evangelism

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Hong Kong Christians at Gateway Camp.

In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[1]

See also: Global Christianity

Internet evangelism is, as the name suggests, the process of evangelizing and spreading the gospel using the internet.

Since its inception, Christianity has seen a consistent and dramatic increase in its number of adherents.[2][3] In the 1940s the Lausanne Movement was started in order to help Christendom evangelize globally with greater effectiveness and thousands of Christian leaders from around the globe meet regularly to increase the effectiveness of Christian evangelism.[4]

Cru is one of the world's largest evangelism organizations within Christendom and has over 25,000 full-time missionaries. In 2006, Alan Beeber of CRU predicted that internet evangelism will result in more conversion that all other forms of evangelism for CRU combined.[5] Internet evangelism is effective at spreading Christianity globally - especially in countries where there is Christian persecution and evangelism is more difficult.

The Christian internet evangelism organization Global Media Outreach indicates that it has had over 2.5 billion "gospel visits" to its websites.[6][7] Global Media Outreach works with many Christians around the world (see: Global Christianity).

The Christian internet evangelism organization Network211 indicates that over 56,000,000 web visits have occurred on its websites.[8] Network211 works with many Christians/churches throughout the world.

There are other significant Christian internet evangelism efforts as well. For example, the Billy Graham Association is also active in internet evangelism.[9]

Franklin Graham is the president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In 2022, the Billy Graham Evangelism Association announced:

Launched in 2012, Search for Jesus impacts website users with the truth of the Gospel and relies on a network of over 1,400 trained volunteers who interact with users and answer live questions. With a mission to reach those hurting and in need, Search for Jesus utilizes the accessibility of the internet to reach places otherwise closed to the Gospel.

Using these digital tools, more than 300 million people have indicated a decision for Christ and received follow-up through the internet ministry. To date, the PeaceWithGod.net websites have welcomed over 100 million online users. With messages in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, American Sign Language, and Russian, Search for Jesus has been able to expand globally and cross language and accessibility barriers.

“This is significant because we’re following Billy Graham’s legacy of spreading the Gospel across the globe using every opportunity we have. The average person spends nearly seven hours a day on the internet, so we want to meet these people where they are,” said Mark Appleton, director of internet evangelism for BGEA, in a press release. “Search for Jesus has given us the chance to spread the Gospel like never before.”[10]

The Billy Graham Evangelism Association says about its desire for volunteers for its internet evangelism program:

People around the world are searching for answers online. Many find hope through Search for Jesus. Would you join us to make a lasting impact for God’s kingdom and see lives changed by Christ? You can serve with us as an online counselor, discipleship coach, or email responder, or get your church involved. If you have a heart for sharing the Gospel, an Internet connection and a few hours a week, consider making Search for Jesus your own personal ministry–a way for God to use you by reaching hurting people around the world in their time of need.[11]

The Christian Post states:

Online evangelism is producing real disciples for Christ, according to a recent study.

Over half of those who made a decision for Jesus over the Internet have subsequently shared their faith with others, Global Media Outreach's study reveals.

Additionally, 34 percent read their Bibles daily and nearly half pray for at least 10 minutes a day...

The study, called the Christian Growth Index, measured the responses of more than 100,000 people from around the world...

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said they shared their faith three times or more and 37 percent said they shared their faith at least once or twice.

Global Media Outreach is a global ministry that presents the Gospel online through websites such as WhoisJesus-Really.com and GrowinginChrist.com. There are more than 5,500 trained online missionaries worldwide who respond to questions asked by seekers through emails.[12]

Also, many churches stream their services online in real-time and/or provide them on a platform (such as Facebook or YouTube). This is not only for the benefit of members who cannot attend services due to illness or old age, as well as people who live in areas with no Bible-believing church nearby, but also for visitors who want to check out what the church believes and how it conducts services before deciding whether to visit in person and ultimately become members.

Contents

Global Media Outreach

Global Media Outreach is an Internet-based ministry began in 2004 by Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU).

Since 2004, Global Media Outreach has registered over 1.6 billion Gospel Visits, defined as visitor views of a website containing the gospel message, like http://faith.godlife.com, http://caniknowGod.com or http://whoisJesus-really.com.

Network211

Network211 has reached people in over 200 countries and territories. As of June 22, 2015, their online ministry has reached over 16,727,000 people.[13]

Network211 is a world missionary outreach focused on global evangelism and discipleship via the Internet.[14]

Network211 currently has a project called Project 100Million.

Project 100Million is an evangelism and discipleship ministry of Network211. Their goal is to reach 100,000,000 people worldwide with the Gospel online.

Project 100Million is multilingual, ministering in English, Farsi, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Mandarin, Spanish, Filipino, American Sign Language and Easy English. Other languages are under development. Network211 has reached people in over 200 countries and territories.

As of June 22, 2015, their online ministry has reached over 16,727,000 people.[15]

Internet creationism

See also: Internet creationism

On February 24, 2015, the Science Nordic website declared:

Creationism, the belief that a god -- not evolution -- shaped life on Earth, is ... spreading in the very stronghold of evolution, Europe. That’s the conclusion of five years of research that’s been put into new book on creationism. The book details how creationism is on the march throughout most of Europe.

"Creationism is most dominant in Eastern Europe and Turkey, but even some schools in the Netherlands are teaching creationism," says one of the book’s authors Hans Henrik Hjermitslev, University College South Denmark. "Politicians in some German federal states are advocating that schools use creationist books alongside those about evolutionary theory in their lessons. This kind of struggle is going on on a small scale in many places."...

"Over the last ten years we’ve seen the emergence of big-city creationism. London is a good example," says Kjærgaar.

Here, noticeably more young people have been signed up to various local and religious groups.

"And this doesn't just apply to young Muslims as many people might think. Christian groups are also recruiting young people...

Creationism has particularly been on the rise in step with the internet, which according to Peter Kjærgaard has made it much easier for people to become activists...[16]

YouTube Christian evangelism

YouTube is a popular online video sharing site that provides a method distributing Christian/creationist videos across the world. The YouTube search engine is the second largest search engine in the world.[17] But most YouTube channels gain their visitors through cultivating a following through creating popular/viral videos.

History of internet evangelism

African Christians clapping at an open air meeting.

In the 21st century, internet evangelists better understand the importance of learning language, culture and contextualization. This ethnically aware phase of internet evangelism is the future of cybermissions.[18]

See also: History of internet evangelism

According to the Lausanne World Pulse Archives, which was a joint effort between the Billy Graham Center and the Lausanne Movement from 2005-2011, the four phases of the history of Christian internet evangelism are:

1. Eccentric – (early 1990s) Newsgroups, bulletin boards and online “flame wars” between Christians and atheists were common.

2. Enthusiastic – (mid 1990s) Online tracts with a gospel outline and a response form were available, but these were overwhelmingly in English.

3. Evangelistic – (late 1990s to present) Online tracts with snippets of audio and video and testimonies and links to items of interest to Western non-Christians are available. These same post-modern, Western-oriented websites are translated into various major languages in an effort to “reach the world for Jesus.”

4. Ethnically Aware – (2005 into the future) Indigenous missionaries and experienced Western missionaries combine to do highly contextualized and appropriate websites in their own languages and cultures without any corresponding English language website being established. These websites then link with on-the-ground efforts by those same agencies. The Western missionary may act as a technical and strategic adviser, but the design is done by national Christians who know that culture and its nuances.

The first three phases were good in their time and place but they occurred with little or no reference to modern missiological insights. Internet evangelists and cybermissionaries are beginning to understand the importance of learning language, culture and contextualization. Thus it is this last Ethnically Aware phase that is the true future of cybermissions.[19]

See also: Global scope of indigenous evangelical Christianity evangelism

Christian internet outreach and the Matthew effect: Atheist websites vs. religious websites

See also: Internet outreach and the Matthew effect: Atheist websites vs. religious websites and Major Christian websites

Study.com defines the Matthew effect thusly: "The Matthew Effect is a term that describes the concept in society of accumulated advantage. It argues that people who start from a place of advantage, like intelligence, fame, wealth, or skill, will have the opportunity to accrue more of that advantage compared to others. The Matthew Effect is often thought of by the phrase, "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.""[20] The Matthew effect's etymology can be traced to Gospel of Matthew which declares Jesus as saying: "For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Matthew 25:29, RSV).

Because the religious population is larger than the atheist/agnostic populations and raises more money for web marketing budgets than the atheist/agnostic populations, they greatly outperform atheist websites in terms of web traffic. In addition, Google tends to rank large websites with a lot of traffic higher at Google for various search terms - especially high volume searches. So large Christian websites with a lot of web traffic have a big competitive advantage over atheist websites. Furthermore, religious groups often have more evangelistic zeal and also have more international cooperation in terms of web outreach efforts.

As time has progressed the gap between the effectiveness of religious websites vs. atheist websites in terms of reaching larger audiences has widened and will most likely widen further. For example, Christian websites are greatly outperforming atheist websites in terms of their respective web outreaches.

For more information, please see: Internet outreach and the Matthew effect: Atheist websites vs. religious websites.

Various Christian websites with a lot of web traffic

See also: Major Christian websites

Biblegateway.com and Google referral traffic

During the coronavirus pandemic, the multilingual website Biblegateway.com experienced an increase in Google referral traffic from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to July 30, 2022 according to the data from the leading web marketing company SEMRush.com.
Large multilingual websites with a lot of traffic from around the world such as Biblegateway.com have a large amount of relevant inbound links from around the world.

Christianity.com and Google referral traffic

During the coronavirus pandemic, the website Christianity.com had an increase in Google referral traffic from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to July 30, 2022 according to the data from the leading web marketing company SEMRush.com.

The amount of Google referral traffic to Christianity.com has gone significanly since February 2016 according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush and the website's Google referral traffic increased during the pandemic. SEMRush says the website is getting about 6,250,000 monthly referral visits from Google in July 2022.

Got Questions Ministries and Google referral traffic

See also: Got Questions Ministries

According to Got Questions Ministries, within one month of their launch, GotQuestions.org was receiving over 30 questions a day. The volunteer staff grew from 5 writers, to 10, to 20, to 50, and ultimately to its current staff of over 275 writers (In 2013, Got Questions Ministries reported having over 275 writers).[21] Gotquestions.org relies on three things: 1) SEO 2) Content marketing 3) Volunteer recruitment/management."[22] See: S. Michael Houdmann - 10-Year Anniversary Presentation and Got Questions? Interview with Got Questions founder, Shea Michael Houdmann (October 2022 interview) and Apply to serve with GotQuestions.org

In December of 2020, the Christian internet ministry Got Questions Ministries saw a very large increase in its Google referral traffic according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.

According to the article 1,000+ Winners and Losers of the December 2020 Google Core Algorithm Update the website Gotquestions.org saw the 7th biggest increase in Google referral traffic as far as the 50 domains that saw the greatest percent gain in Google visibility.[23]

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.
Large multilingual websites with a lot of Google referral traffic from around the world such as Gotquestions.org have a large amount of relevant inbound links from around the world.

Internet evangelism: Christians vs. atheists

See: Internet evangelism: Christians vs. atheists

Major Christian apologetics websites and their web traffic

See also: Major Christian apologetics websites and their web traffic

Christian apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith through the use of evidence and logical arguments. It offers arguments for the existence of God and specific arguments for the validity of Christianity.

Christian apologetics also offers rebuttals of opposing worldviews. For example, rebuttals to atheist arguments.

Listed below is the Google referral traffic to some of the leading Christian apologetic websites.

Answers in Genesis: Google referral traffic

Answers in Genesis is a non-profit young earth creationist organization that is dedicated to "defending the Bible from the very first verse".

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Answers in Genesis website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Creation Ministries International: Google referral traffic

Creation Ministries International (CMI) is a network of creation ministries which started in Australia, and now also has offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Singapore.

Creation Ministries International: Google referral traffic: January 2021 to January 2023

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Creation Ministries International website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Creation Ministries International: Google referral traffic: January 2013 to January 2023

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Creation Ministries International website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM): Google referral traffic

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) is a internet based Christian apologetics ministry.[24] CARM provides information on Christian Doctrine, theology, evangelism, and other subjects.[25]

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: Google referral traffic - January 2022 to January 2023

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com for the last year.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: Google referral traffic - January 2013 to January 2023

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Institute for Creation Research: Google referral traffic

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is one of the three largest creation science groups in the United States.

Institute for Creation Research: Google referral traffic: January 2021 to January 2023

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Institute for Creation Research website from January 2021 to January 2023 according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Institute for Creation Research: Google referral traffic: January 2013 to January 2023

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Institute for Creation Research website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Crossexamined.org website: Google referral traffic

CrossExamined.org focuses on Christian Apologetics. Its president is Frank Turek.

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Crossexamined.org website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Cold Case Christianity: Google referral traffic

Cold Case Christianity is a Christian apologetics website. The website is the online home of J. Warner Wallace.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker and best-selling author. He continues to consult on cold-case investigations while serving as a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is also an adjunct professor of apologetics at Talbot School of Theology (Biola University) and Southern Evangelical Seminary, and a faculty member at Summit Ministries.

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Cold Case Christianity website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Reasonable Faith/William Lane Craig website: Google referral traffic

William Lane Craig is a renowned Christian scholar, philosopher, and Christian apologist. He currently holds the position of Research Professor of Philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology in La Miranda, California.

The above graphic gives the monthly Google referral traffic to the Reasonable Faith/William Lane Craig website according to the leading web marketing website SEMRush.com.

Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate the quality and the relevance of a website to various topics.

Christian children websites

See: Christian children websites

Books

  • Internet Evangelism and Ministry by Rowland Peters, AMES ICM BIBLE COLLEGE LIMITED (August 17, 2022)
  • Internet Evangelism for the 21st Century by Daniel Henrich, Handclasp Incorporated (August 12, 2010)
  • Internet Evangelism in the 21st Century by Daniel Henrich, BookSurge Publishing; 2008th edition (March 12, 2008)

See also

External links

Internet evangelism news and general information:


Video series on internet evangelism:


Analysis of internet evangelism:


Internet evangelism methods:

Social media:

Podcasting:


Internet evangelism day:

References

  1. Is Christianity taking over the planet?
  2. http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/BChristianIncrease12.htm
  3. http://pewforum.org/Christian/Faith-and-Conflict-The-Global-Rise-of-Christianity.aspx
  4. http://www.lausanne.org/about.html
  5. http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/pdf/issues/LWP0206.pdf
  6. If the twelve disciples had iPhones, Religion News Service]
  7. Global Media Outreach - websites visitors counter
  8. Network211 - visits
  9. Billy Graham Association - Internet evangelism
  10. BGEA Marks 10 Years of Internet Evangelism Ministry ‘Search for Jesus’, National Religious Broadcasters website
  11. Biiy Graham Association - Internet evangelism
  12. Study Reveals Internet Evangelism Is Effective, Christian Post
  13. Network211 - our results
  14. Network211 - About us
  15. Network211 - our results
  16. Scientists warn: creationism is on the rise in Europe, Science Nordic
  17. http://www.tgdaily.com/trendwatch-features/39777-youtube-surpasses-yahoo-as-world%E2%80%99s-2-search-engine
  18. Contextualizing Cyberspace – Missiology Still Matters When it Comes to Cybermissions and Internet Evangelism
  19. Contextualizing Cyberspace – Missiology Still Matters When it Comes to Cybermissions and Internet Evangelism
  20. What is the Matthew effect
  21. S. Michael Houdmann - 10-Year Anniversary Presentation
  22. S. Michael Houdmann - 10-Year Anniversary Presentation
  23. 1,000+ Winners and Losers of the December 2020 Google Core Algorithm Update
  24. http://www.carm.org/index/aboutcarm.htm
  25. http://www.carm.org/index/aboutcarm.htm