Evangelist Wins Souls Online

by | Mar 31, 2005 | Charisma Archive

Businessman-turned-preacher Bill Keller says mainstream television and the Internet are the best ways to reach the lost

Some 21st century evangelists are winning souls one click at a time.


They are the missionaries of the Internet, and they claim hundreds of thousands–even millions–of salvations, healings and answers to prayer from their online ministries.


LivePrayer.com is one of the most successful examples. It finished up its 64th month online at the end of 2004 with 100,000 reported decisions for Christ, a daily devotional subscriber list of roughly 2 million and more than 40,000 prayer requests sent in every day. A volunteer team of more than 700 retired pastors responds personally to each request.


“Three to four times a month I will share an invitation for salvation in my daily devotional, and we mail out a booklet to those who let us know they responded,” said Bill Keller, who runs LivePrayer.com. “As of the end of December, we sent out our 100,000th booklet.”


LivePrayer.com offers video clips of people praying for finances, health and relationships, plus a 24-hour live video feed that usually features someone sitting at a computer reading prayer requests and praying aloud over them. A former salesman who claims to have amassed and lost several fortunes before finding the Lord, Keller believes that mainstream television and the Internet are the ways to reach lost souls today.


The founder and president of Bill Keller Ministries based in St. Petersburg, Fla., gave his life to Christ at the age of 12 and said he always knew he would be a minister. But he began selling computers in the late 1970s and found that he had a knack for sales. By his own admission, greed took over, and by the late 1980s he was consumed in a fast lifestyle that included alcohol, drugs and lots of wheeling and dealing. By 1990, he was sitting in federal prison, convicted of insider trading.


There, he turned his life back over to Christ, received a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and became a traveling preacher upon his release in 1992. He then worked in Christian television but became frustrated when he began to feel he was merely “preaching to the choir.”


“The lost are not sitting in church on Sunday mornings or watching Christian television,” Keller said. “They are out there living their lives, so it was up to me to go outside of the Christian trough.”


Keller started LivePrayer.com and two years ago launched a live call-in TV show, Live Prayer With Bill Keller, which airs from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday on the UPN station in the Tampa Bay area.


Keller is not the only one using new millennium media to reach the masses. Presbyterian minister Charles Henderson launched The First Church of Cyberspace in 1994. The site says the outreach is “an attempt to bring Christianity online with thoughtfulness, humor and a willingness to address the more controversial questions that tend to be avoided in the traditional church.”


The cyberspace church is just one of many that offer sermons, articles, devotionals, live forums and links to other resources. Few sites reach non-Christians the way LivePrayer.com does, but efforts are under way to change that.


The Internet Evangelism Coalition, a consortium of several outreach ministries, has designated April 24 as Internet Evangelism (IE) Day. An affiliated Web site, www.InternetEvangelismDay.com, will offer a five-minute video testimony from a student who found God online, short drama scripts, PowerPoint presentations, discussion questions and a variety of links.


The organizing team hopes IE Day will inspire churches to use their Web pages for more than just making announcements to their members. A 2001 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that roughly 25 percent of adult Internet users–around 28 million people–had gone online to get religious and spiritual material.


“It’s an exciting challenge,” said IE Day coordinator Tony Whittaker. “The potential of the Web is enormous.”


In addition to the IE Day efforts, a conference dealing with Internet evangelism for the 21st century also is scheduled this month at Liberty University.


The race to save souls can mask a desire to bring in the cash. Some sites prey on seekers by renting out their subscriber lists, placing ad banners all over the place and soliciting heavily for donations.


Keller insists that his goal is to reach the unsaved, not make a buck. He said LivePrayer, which takes $70,000 a month to stay online and on the air, is supported by anonymous ministry partners who give large monetary gifts. Some visitors also send in donations.


Keller knows it will take money to reach the millions of people who don’t know Christ. “But I have to stand before God one day and give an accounting, so [exploiting subscribers] just isn’t worth it.”
Natalie Nichols Gillespie

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How to Operate in the Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit

How to Operate in the Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told the apostles in Acts 1:8 (NLT), “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Jesus promises a gift that would give them comfort, power, strength and encouragement. That gift is the Holy Spirit, and that...

Messianic Rabbi: Make the Choice to Be an Outsider

Messianic Rabbi: Make the Choice to Be an Outsider

One of the wonderful things about reading through the Bible is that the more you read it, the more things you find within its pages. No matter how many times you read a verse or a series of verses, because the Bible is a living document, there will always be more to...

Kingdom Economics: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Kingdom Economics: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress unanimously voted to pass a declaration of independence from Britain. Each signatory was facing death by hanging if the bold experiment failed. The Declaration of Independence declared that all men were created equal and that...

Consider This Unsung Hero of the Bible

Consider This Unsung Hero of the Bible

Sometimes, I think Martha in the Bible gets a bad rap! I am not saying that Jesus labeled Martha at all. Please hear me out. But I think we would be wise to avoid picking up and holding onto some of the dynamics in this potential sibling rivalry between Martha and...

Prophetic Word: We Are Entering the Books of Acts

Prophetic Word: We Are Entering the Books of Acts

On the morning of June 5, 2022, I was praying in preparation for the Arise Women’s Summit I was hosting near Knoxville, Tennessee, when the Lord took me into an encounter. I found myself in the library of heaven standing before a giant staircase made of extremely...

The Church Revived: 3 Keys to the Emerging Move of God

The Church Revived: 3 Keys to the Emerging Move of God

During the past two years, I believe the church at large has been in a season of returning to God. Repentance is crucial when it comes to revival. Scripture shows a clear pattern that repentance precedes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Joel 2:12-28 and Acts...

RECENT ARTICLES

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us,...
Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...

Pin It on Pinterest