Internet Evangelism Day named by a coalition of Christians was held for the first time on April 24 to educate believers on the importance and effectiveness of web evangelism.
Led and facilitated by the Internet Evangelism Coalition, an umbrella group of evangelical Christian organizations, IED is designed to show the impact and effectiveness of internet among churches, bible colleges, and other Christian Organization.
IE Day Coordinator, Tony Whittaker, stated on a statement on the website, “The opportunities are vast. There are nearly 100 million Internet users in China. 70 million are online in Japan. India will soon have 60 million, Middle East 17 million.”
Meanwhile, IEC also stated that internet is a medium, which helps mobilize digital revolution, and its impact will be as far-reaching as the invention of the printing press. Within a decade, the internet has become a communication medium used by nearly 1000 million users worldwide.
However, a major problem that Christians faces is the mismatch of resources, where the vast majority of online information is for Christians and small minority section for evangelistic purposes to the non-believers, particularly in the western world.
“We can see it often reflected in Churches’ support or awareness for evangelism outside their own countries, in particular the needs of non-Western world,” stated Whittaker. He explained that while there are 40,000+ English-language Christian websites and over150,000+ church websites, relatively few Christian groups are using the web for real evangelism.
To use the web more effectively, the understanding of the internet as a medium is essential. Comparing the existing mediums with new means of communication, people can begin learning about its potential. Television began as radio with pictures, but it was later recognized as its own form of medium for communications.
The IE Day Coalition hopes to make a difference by doing three things: Increase awareness of the Internet as a powerful evangelistic medium; Encourage, enable and envision churches, other Christian groups and individual Christians, to use the Web for outreach; and offer specific strategies and training for Christians in this area.
Dr. Sterling Huston, Director North America Ministries of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, also shares that internet in an important tool for evangelistic purposes.
“The Internet offers churches, Christian organizations and individuals an amazing and rapidly expanding opportunity to share the ‘Good News’ of the gospel with a world in need. I pray that Internet Evangelism Day will inspire many more to utilize this dynamic media to extend and enlarge their witness for Christ,” he stated on the IED website.
The Billy Graham Center, of which the BGEA takes part, is one of ten executive member organizations that sponsored the event.
IEC promotes collaboration between partner organizations. As a method of collaboration, IEC welcomes partner organizations to develop their own Internet Evangelism Day website in other languages based broadly on this site’s content.
“We wish to see the Internet used for evangelism internationally, in as many languages as possible,” Whittaker stated.
Partner organizations will be responsible for their own IE Day sites, and for promoting Internet Evangelism Day in their countries and languages groups. However, IEC will place links to these websites.
Keith Seabourn, Campus Crusade’s Chief Technology Officer, also agrees that internet is a major medium for evangelism. However, he expressed the need for more Christians to be involved in this mission field.
“The Internet is a preferred avenue for people seeking answers,” stated Keith. "While this mission field is exploding in activity, the workers are too few."
The executive member organizations of IEC are: American Tract Society, Billy Graham Center, Brown Governance, Campus Crusade for Christ, Christian Broadcasting Network, Christianity Today, Evangelism Explosion, ForMinistry.com, Gospelcom.net, Mission America, and Willowcreek.