A former executive for one of the world’s largest computer companies says the World Wide Web is revolutionizing evangelism.
“This is the Internet moment in human history,” said Walt Wilson, a former Apple Computer executive and one-time senior vice president at Computer Sciences Corp., a $16 billion company with 600 offices worldwide. “We have the technology to reach every man, woman and child on the Earth. We’re the first generation in all human history to have this capacity.”
Wilson, founder of Global Media Outreach (GMO), partnered with Campus Crusade for Christ in 2004 to create one-page Web sites that present the gospel using the Four Spiritual Laws evangelistic resource.
Today, Wilson says GMO has more than 100 Web sites, including five dedicated to the U.S. military. The sites receive at least 7 million visitors monthly from every nation on the globe, with at least 1 million people reporting decisions for Christ each month since June.
Through partnerships with churches nationwide, GMO has mobilized some 3,600 “online missionaries” to respond to questions and comments posted at the sites. The missionaries share personal stories, Scriptures and prayers.
“The people who come to us are in desperate need,” Wilson said. “They’re not people who want to argue with God or stick their finger at His eye. They’re people in desperate need saying: ‘I need help. Tell me about Jesus.'”
Difficult theological questions are referred to a team of pastors. But Wilson said too many Christians think they have to be theologians to share their faith. “Just tell them your story,” he says. “Life is about stories.”
Wilson said a grandmother in South Carolina shared Christ with a Muslim in the Middle East who told her he couldn’t stand the violence any longer. A stay-at-home mom evangelized while baking cookies. Residents in retirement homes minister to people in Pakistan and Tora Bora.
In a statement, North Point Baptist Church in Phoenix said that after working with GMO for four years, its missionaries saw 14,000 people report decisions for Christ. Forestville Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C., has mobilized roughly 70 online missionaries who minister worldwide every day.
“Forestville families minister together, reaching out from their home computers, to the world that Jesus loves and died for….to people who are hungry and seeking Jesus,” senior pastor Rob Jackson said. “I truly believe that technology through computers and cell phones (and who knows what will come next) is the ‘front porch,’ and the main and most effective entry point and communication port, to the people of this 21st century world.”
Wilson developed the idea for GMO more than 15 years ago while meeting with business leaders and professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
While the group was discussing ways to monetize a new thing called the Internet, Wilson says God began to speak to him through a series of questions. He began to see the Internet as one of the most significant ministry tools in centuries-not unlike Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press, which made the Bible more accessible, and the ancient Roman roads that ultimately helped spread the gospel across Europe.
“We believe God is doing something very dramatic in these late days, and we believe everybody’s going to have an opportunity to know Jesus,” Wilson said. “Nobody will be able to say I didn’t know. … We can reach the world.”