April 24, 2005 has been designated as worldwide Internet Evangelism Day (IED) by a group of ministries, churches and individuals who believe the day will increase awareness of what is happening online and highlight the potential of using the Internet to share the gospel. The Internet Evangelism Coalition is endorsing the day with members of the Coalition helping facilitate the development of IED resources.
Internet Evangelism Day can help "inspire many more Christians to utilize this dynamic media to extend and enlarge their witness for Christ," said Dr. Sterling Huston, Chair of the IEC and Director of Special Ministries for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
The Internet "offers churches, Christian organizations and individuals an amazing and rapidly expanding opportunity to share the 'Good News' of the gospel with a world in need," Huston went on to emphasize.
To promote IED, the www.InternetEvangelismDay.com web site was recently developed under the leadership of Tony Whittaker, the editor of 'the Web Evangelism Guide'.
According to Whittaker, IED is designed to encourage wider and more effective use of the Internet for outreach and to motivate churches "to create new websites, or modify their existing pages to become user-friendly and enticing to non-Christians in their community." In addition, Whittaker hopes the day will inspire more Christians into web outreach as they create new evangelistic sites and support already existing online ministry through email counseling and discipleship.
"On www.InternetEvangelismDay.com, organizers lift up the importance of Internet Evangelism and provide resources for developing and enhancing evangelism-focused web sites, Church web sites and chat room ministry," noted the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization.
A variety of IED tools are available online to assist churches (and others) in creating their own short emphasis on or near IED. Tools include IED posters, a short video testimony, photos, publicity/promotion materials, a free "evangelistic screensaver" and a regular enewsletter.
Since it was established in April 1999, the IEC and its members have:
- Hosted several Internet Evangelism Coalition conferences and meetings
- Developed a web site that helps serve as a hub of information and connections for Internet Evangelism worldwide (www.webevangelism.com)
- Developed several web sites to assist those involved in Internet Evangelism including: 'Now Try God', a seeker-sensitive evangelistic web site (www.nowtrygod.com); 'Evangelism Toolbox', a comprehensive listing of evangelism tools and resources (www.evangelismtoolbox.com), and 'Growing in Christ', discipleship resources for the new believer (www.growinginchrist.com)
- Designed Online Training for Online Evangelists (http://bgc.gospelcom.net/iec/otoe/index.php)
- Produced a monthly IEC ENewsletter on Internet Evangelism
IEC's work is currently facilitated by the Billy Graham Center.