NewswireTODAY - /newswire/ -
Derby, Derbyshire, United Kingdom, 2008/04/03 - Churches around the world will hold a 'web awareness' focus day on April 27, to learn how the Internet can help them communicate - GospelCom.net.
"How can we use this new-fangled Internet thing to share the gospel?" Christians are asking. A worldwide 'web evangelism focus day' is helping to provide answers. Sunday, April 27, has been designated as Internet Evangelism Day. Churches can download free materials from the Internet Evangelism Day website. These varied materials make it easy for churches to create a short presentation about online outreach on or near that Sunday. They can choose from a PowerPoint, video clip testimonies, drama scripts, music and handouts to create their own customized program lasting from one minute to 50.
Church leaders who have already used these materials are excited. "This is a huge help for small churches such as ours," writes a church leader from California.
The Internet Evangelism Day team emphasizes that web evangelism is for anyone, not just the technically gifted. "There are many ways to share your faith online, without any technical background at all," says IE Day Coordinator Tony Whittaker.
Christian leaders are also enthusiastic: "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says Dr. John Stott.
Churches still have time to plan a focus spot on or near 27 April, or at any more suitable date during the year.
Free Church Website Tool Released
The people behind Internet Evangelism Day also provide year-round resources about online outreach. The ministry explains many ways that Christians can share the good news, including through church websites. Churches often find it difficult to create a site that will engage with outsiders in their area, and find themselves asking, "How can our church website help us reach out into our community?"
A new online tool released by IE Day provides churches with a free 15-page evaluation report. Users assess their own website by answering 55 simple questions. Their customized report is immediately displayed online, ready to print or save. The report's recommendations are tailored with specific practical suggestions, based on the questions that were ticked.
A church site which has been prioritized for non-Christian visitors can be remarkably effective in reaching the community. "Week in, week out, more visitors turn up at our church on a Sunday because of the website, than anything else," writes one growing church in London.
Church leaders have welcomed this new resource. "This competent evaluation tool provides a valuable service to churches that will help them strengthen their effectiveness in outreach through the Internet," says Dr. Sterling Huston, director of North American Ministries for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Gary McClure of LifeWay Ministries agrees, saying, "This checklist is an invaluable tool to identify critical areas for improvement. Every church should study this regularly and act on it!"
IE Day is an initiative of the Internet Evangelism Coalition, a group of online ministries, at Billy Graham Center, Wheaton. It is completely free with NO fund-raising component.