Online Missionaries - New Force in Evangelism

Flights to exotic locations, uprooting one's family, and investing years of one's life are no longer required to do global mission work given the advancement of communication technology.

Now, with the power of Internet technology, Christians can share the Gospel and God's plan for salvation with people in 191 countries around the world without leaving their home.

Global Media Outreach (GMO), with its more than 71 Web sites divided by popular issues and topics, has helped over 1.3 million people indicate a decision for Jesus Christ in 2007 alone.

"People who are in crisis typically log on," said Walt Wilson, founder and chairman of GMO, to The Christian Post.

When people search about marriage and affairs, "chances are very good that they are going to find us," he said, "In fact that is the number one topic right now – marital relationship."

Wilson noted that two weeks ago a woman told him that she googled "help me" and that was how she found the ministry. Others have search on the Web using key words such as drug addiction, alcoholism, and financial chaos, among others and have found GMO.

"People who are in crisis find us," Wilson stated firmly, "I think for two reasons. We know something about search-engine optimization, and number two, I believe firmly that when a person is seriously seeking the face of God He is going to reveal Himself."

"So I believe a good deal of our success and our traffic comes from the power of the Holy Spirit," he said. "It is not that we're so smart or special."

GMO boasts a volunteer force of some 2,000 online missionaries who reply via email to questions posted by seekers, skeptics, and Christians needing support. The ministry purposely creates Web sites that are easy to use and find as well as safe for individuals who are searching for God online to learn about the Gospel and connect to a Christian mentor.

Volunteers are recruited from evangelical churches and are asked for references from their pastor. They typically spend only a few minutes a day responding to emails and hold another full-time job.

Christians participating in the ministry come from a wide range of professional backgrounds including business executives, housewives, students, truck drivers, and others.

Through these online missionaries, people from places as removed as a small village in Afghanistan have been able to ask questions about Jesus and Christianity.

Wilson remarked, "You wonder, how do these people have access to the Internet. Well there is only 1.3 billion people in the world who have access to the internet and 3.5 billion who have cell phones and we reach 400,000 people a month on cell phones," he commented.

"So in total there are more than 3 billion people out there who have access to the internet," he said. "And by the way, the church does not exist in most of their lives."

The GMO founder confirmed that the Web sites get a large amount of traffic from Muslims who are interested in Jesus.

After someone makes a commitment to Jesus Christ, online missionaries are responsible for steering them to the extensive discipleship program available online and also helping connect them to local churches or Christian movement.

This year, GMO hopes to help more than 2 million people indicate a decision for Jesus as their savior.

The ministry is preparing to expand its reach by launching Internet-based radio at the end of October and is currently developing Internet-based television, slated for release early 2009, to share the Gospel.

"We will tell all learners across the world the story of Jesus by film and by voice," Wilson said.

Statistics about GMO:

•Every 3 seconds the Gospel is presented to someone. In total, the Gospel is presented to 15 million people a year.
•Every 20 seconds a decision is made for Christ. A total of 2.5 million commitments are made a year.
•Each month the Gospel is presented to 400,000 people via cell phone.

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