April 26 is International Web Focus Day for churches, a change to introduce people to the vast opportunities on the internet.
"I recently discovered that over 500,000 of the population of my home town use the networking website Facebook," writes a surprised computer user. Remarkably, 1.5 billion people now access the Web for a wide range of activities.
A new internet service called 'Twitter' recently enabled eyewitnesses to pass on to thousands of other people their firsthand accounts (with pictures) of the jet that ditched in the Hudson River, well before TV and radio could tell the story. The digital world seems to change every time we blink!
How can Christians use this bewildering mix of technologies to share the good news? One place to find answers is Internet Evangelism Day's website. It provides detailed resources, ideas and strategies to help Christians use what many leaders have called a 'God-given medium'. These include a self-assessment tool for church websites, enabling them to better reach out into their communities.
Internet Evangelism Day - as the name suggests - is also an annual web-awareness focus day. Churches and other Christian groups can build a short focus spot into their meetings on April 26, to explain to their members more about the potential for online evangelism, and how anyone can be involved in this rewarding ministry. A customized presentation (anything from 5 minutes to 50) can be easily created using free downloads from IE Day's website: video clips, Powerpoint, handouts, music and drama.
One surprising fact is that online evangelism is for anyone, not just the technically gifted. "There are many ways to share your faith online, without any technical knowledge at all," says IE Day Coordinator Tony Whittaker.
Church leaders who have already used these materials are excited. "This is a huge help for small churches such as ours," writes a minister from California. "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says elder statesman Rev John Stott.
IE Day's website is here.