Digital Evangelism Helps Fulfill Great Commission

by Terry Wilhite

Computers are used in homes today in a multitude of ways—from paying bills on-line to archiving recipes. But it's been my observation that most church-goers have never even thought about using their computers to grow spiritually, or for that matter, reach people for Christ.

That's why I'm excited about a new book entitled Digital Evangelism: You Can Do It Too! written by Michael White. White has been a pastor and is currently an active-duty Army chaplain. In his new book, he does a masterful job of linking "high tech" with the most high calling of spreading the gospel, which is not only something every Christian can do but everyone with a computer should do.

The book spans only 80 pages, and you'll probably be able to read it in a single night, but it will be a resource you'll want to refer to time and again. I picked up several great ideas, including some really nice software finds—most of them free.

White has divided his book into two major sections. In the first section there are eight chapters for using computers in Christian ministry in your local community. The second section provides six ways we can use computers in a world-wide ministry.

While White kicks off his book with a chapter called "Create a Web Site," he keeps the reading interesting and avoids an over-abundance of "tech speak." (There's a glossary at the end!)

Chapter two, "Create a Local E-Mail Prayer List" is a favorite of mine, because when this idea was employed in my own church, it did more to bring our congregation closer than anything had in years. Further, White has balanced the "how-to's" with sage pastoral advice on issues such as spreading too many details with prayer requests.

Chapter three is called "Create an E-mail Announcements List." I've also seen this work really well in my own church. "Former members who want to keep up with what's going on in their previous congregation and community can subscribe to stay informed," White writes.  "Prospective members who live in the neighborhood can subscribe to see what activities of interest you offer before they decide to join."

Most every idea in the book, in my opinion, can be adopted by a congregation of 50 just as well as a congregation of 500. As a pastor of small congregations, White's heart for smaller churches clearly comes through in this book. Chapter four explains how to write an e-mail newsletter for your congregation, while chapter five explains how to offer computer classes, which is an outstanding idea. "As Christians, we should remember that if we aren't harvesting, we must be sowing or watering," he says. Those challenges can be met in part by teaching people how to use their computers. In chapter six, he details how to conduct a public literacy and education program—again an effort that can easily build a bridge between your ministry and the community.

In chapter seven he explains how to assemble a computer café—multiple computers made available for public access in a designated area. "Once your computer café is filled with people of all walks from your community, you can greet them withmessages of the gospel through wall posters, screensavers, Christian desktop themes, on-line Bibles and Bible study software." Again, he offers advice to help ensure that the technology isn't used inappropriately.

Chapter eight gives a good spiel on organizing a computer club or user's group. On a few topics like these, I did find myself having the tendency to say, "that's just not me" or "I just don't have time to make this happen." Bad thinking on my part. On subjects we can't tackle, somebody, somewhere close by has all the time and ability necessary to make digital evangelism of this magnitude happen. All he or she needs is our encouragement and for us to pass on a copy of this book.

Most amazingly, with the use of a computer and the Internet, you can now stay at home and be a foreign missionary. That is an idea we need to passionately communicate to those in our fellowship. White rounds out the book by explaining how to start an international prayer list, create e-mail discussion lists and forums, write world-wide e-mail newsletters, conduct mission support programs and unleash the power of Internet evangelism.

You can purchase the book at White's Web site, www.books.parsonplace.com. It's inexpensive and I highly recommend it.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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