In Part 1 of “Behind the Library” we took a look at the overall ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). One of the sub-ministries mentioned was Internet Evangelism. This ministry recently reached a huge milestone of having 4 million people self-report that they have made a decision to become a Christian through the website.
This article, by Tiffany Jothen for billygraham.org, takes a look at how the Internet Evangelism ministry works.
A quick look at the SearchForJesus.net website and you’ll find numbers that are constantly changing. The screen shows in real time the number of people being reached through BGEA’s Internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus, and displays the countries where people are online seeing and hearing the Gospel.
Internet Evangelism Director John Cass kept an eye on the Search for Jesus/pray page last week as the number of people deciding to follow Christ neared 4 million. Anyone can visit the website to watch these decisions in real time on a spinning, 3-D globe.
As Cass watched, the ministry was reaching people in dozens of countries, many that are closed to more traditional methods of evangelism.
“We should never, ever, ever underestimate what God is doing,” he said. “God’s amazing. … He’s reaching people where they’re at.”
BGEA launched its Internet Evangelism ministry in April 2011. Since then, the Gospel has been presented more than 20 million times across the globe. Of the 4 million people indicating decisions for Christ, nearly half a million showed interest in receiving follow-up and discipleship materials. Search for Jesus is also working to connect new brothers and sisters in Christ to the local church, taking them from the online world to the offline world.
It’s exciting to watch people worldwide decide to follow Christ, Cass said, but the emphasis has never been on numbers. The Search for Jesus team knows that God can use the ministry to help change individual lives. The team spends time every Wednesday praying for these online visitors—often by name—and asking God to continue using Search for Jesus to spread His message of hope, love and forgiveness.
The team isn’t alone in ministry. Search for Jesus includes 322 trained volunteers who chat with online visitors, answer their spiritual questions through email and guide them in a free, online discipleship course.