A billboard campaign launched in Austin, Texas, is being hailed as historic by one local pastor because the global initiative has already brought together 330 diverse church congregations that are asking people to Explore God.
Thirty billboards that dot the Central Texas landscape simply read #ExploreGod and are part of an effort to encourage people to visit the website exploregod.com, which provides resources for preachers, study groups, new Christians, as well as nonbelievers who want to learn about Jesus and what distinguishes Him from the leaders of other world religions.
"What we've been told is that this is, if not the biggest, one of the largest billboard campaigns ever in the city of Austin," Dan Smith, one of the creators of the Explore God Project, told KEYE-TV.
Smith, an Austin-area entrepreneur who sold creditcards.com for millions of dollars before working with a team of like-minded Christians to launch exploregod.com, said the purpose behind the website is to provide a "platform and a resource for people to explore God."
"We create media and resources – articles, videos and films that address some of the biggest questions that people have about God, religion, faith, the Bible and Jesus," Smith said.
He also emphasized that the content is free to everyone throughout the world who has access to the Internet.
Matt Dillahunty, the former president of Atheist Community in Austin and co-host of the cable access TV show "The Atheist Experience," told KEYE that he believes the Internet has been a useful tool for the secular community and "damaging to religion."
"What I see with the Explore God Project is religious groups coming into their own and saying, 'Hey let's take advantage of this.' And I encourage people to explore God and explore other question," Dillahunty commented. However, the skeptical atheist also said that, in his opinion, the money spent to develop exploregod.com could be put to better use by helping the city's homeless population or other charitable endeavors.
Pastor Will Davis Jr., the senior pastor at Austin Christian Fellowship, noted that Christians already serve the homeless and charities throughout the world, and explained that having 330 churches of various denominations join the Explore God Project is "definitely unprecedented and historic." Davis' church is among the 330 that are part of the citywide launch scheduled for September, which is expected to increase in number as the project expands worldwide.
"If people start talking about God, a lot of people will end up finding Him," Davis said.
The Explore God website includes videos on why there's suffering and pain in the world, as well as resources about love, forgiveness, money, loneliness, and depression. The site also includes the top 50 questions asked by spiritual seekers; suggested reading for new Christians; Jesus' teachings accompanied by biblical scriptures, and Barna survey results that are incorporated into video interviews.
Although the Explore God Project has brought together many denominations, the Catholic Church is not participating in the initiative.
Watch a video from Explore God about why God allows pain and suffering: