In a struggling economy, even the "business" of saving souls needs to recalculate its budget to make every dollar – or in this case, penny – stretch.
Global Media Outreach (GMO), the internet ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International, reported on Monday that it presented the Gospel to more than 14 million people (one every second) in 2008. Among those it reached, over 3 million people (one every 11 seconds) indicated a first-time decision or recommitment for Jesus Christ.
But perhaps most shocking is that the ministry was able to share the Gospel for less than a dollar per person.
"For the past four years the ministry has averaged 33 cents per outreach contact to share the Gospel," said Walt Wilson, GMO founder and chairman. "We have recently been able to secure a reduced rate of 10 cents per contact in most parts of the world to find someone searching for God, present the Gospel, see many of them accept Christ, and connect them with a trained volunteer for follow-up."
Although the ministry has slashed costs, it plans to more than double its outreach in 2009. Through 11 Web sites and its new cell phone evangelism program, GMO plans to reach more than 30 million people this year.
"We are seeing people in unprecedented numbers searching for Christ as the world slips deeper into chaos," Wilson said. "We must become even better stewards of the charitable giving investments in the ministry by continually looking for process improvements, lower costs and greater return on investment."
GMO is a ministry that harnesses the power of Internet technology to share the Gospel and God's plan for salvation with interested people in 191 countries. More than 2,200 trained online missionaries answer questions posted by seekers, skeptics, and Christians needing support through the ministry's Web site.
Volunteers can "evangelize" from the convenience of their home or office to someone across the world or on the other side of the city.
Last year, GMO launched a cell phone evangelism program that helps reach 300,000 people, including many in developing or controlled countries who cannot access a computer or Internet, each month through mobile phones.
"We are asking the Lord to use us in providing everyone on earth multiple opportunities to know Christ through the use of emerging technologies by 2020," Wilson said.