Tool for the Holy Spirit
I wouldn’t pretend to understand a great deal of how the Holy Spirit works in His salvific ministry. Like you we’ve read and studied the passages explaining His activity to the point God wants us to understand it. However, I’ve often imagined, no disrespect intended, that He works a bit like a “search engine robot”. Search Engines send their “robots” out through the internet to determine who, what, why and where everything is. It then loads that data back into the Search Engine’s databases to be used for online searches. When you request a search (butterflies?) the Search Engine scans its database of available information and provides it to you in the form of “Results”.
Throughout the Church’s history the Spirit has used inspired and even some not so inspiring tools to draw men, women and children to Christ. That’s why Bibles in unlikely places, a “chance” meeting with a friend who shares the Gospel with them or for our purposes, a website with an available Gospel presentation all have been and, we believe, can and will be used by the Spirit in the future. Seven Reasons Your Church Needs the Gospel on Its Website 6 | P a g e © 2018 – TheaXiomNetwork.com Humanly speaking, which version of your website do you sincerely believe the Spirit is more likely to use in His salvific ministry; the version with the Gospel or the version without? Of course, it’s entirely possible He will use your online potluck information to reach the Lost on occasion.
With the Gospel available on your site and thousands of others we’ll simply trust the Holy Spirit to do with the Gospel what He may. Our role is simply to be faithful and leave the results to God. The Gospel on your website may indeed be the “shortcut” that the Spirit wants to use to guide and direct those seeking Salvation. In other words, we believe that other than the imperfect but powerful tool of the creation itself, occasional miracles and the like, the Spirit generally chooses to use the tools the Church has made available to Him for spreading the Gospel.
Only One Guarantee!
While there are no guarantees that any Church website that includes the Gospel will dramatically change Heaven’s population we can guarantee that if Churches don’t make the gospel available there are that many fewer opportunities, online or otherwise, for the Holy Spirit to draw people to Christ. If individuals around the world do make an attempt to find Christ online then at least you can be sure your Church will be faithfully, if silently, doing what it can to make a difference in lives. While God doesn’t need us, our works or our technology to spread the Gospel He has, more often than not, chosen to do so.
Now imagine the possibilities if your site had the Gospel available for Him to use. Imagine if there were tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of Churches flooding the Web with the Gospel. Wouldn’t this scenario provide abundant opportunities for the Spirit to work? So again, why wouldn’t you add the Gospel to your Church’s website?
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
When Jesus gave the command to His disciples to “go into all the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20) He didn’t mention how they should accomplish this. Being products of their culture and with limited physical resources His disciples no doubt would have been thinking of spreading His message by land and sea and through contemporary technology such as scrolls and preaching. How could they think any differently?
The Internet today allows the Body of Christ on earth to propagate His message in unimaginable ways that just a few years ago were impossible. We believe part of God’s plan includes the World Wide Web and its ability to be virtually everywhere at the same time. The creation of this technological marvel didn’t catch God by surprise! Nor, should it be ignored by Christ’s Body on Earth! Seven Reasons Your Church Needs the Gospel on Its Website 5 | P a g e © 2018 – TheaXiomNetwork.com
As an evangelical minister, you are called to play a vital role in the fulfillment of The Great Commission. We implore you to make the Gospel available to any and all who intentionally or “accidentally” find your site either looking for information about your beliefs, to find out your service times or most beneficial, the search for the Promise of Eternal Life.
Answer this simple question?
In your opinion, if the technology had been available after the Ascension, who among the following visionaries would have utilized the Internet to spread the Gospel? Paul? Peter? Steven? Tertullian? Augustine? Wycliffe? Luther? Calvin? Whitefield? Wesley? Edwards? Billy Graham? If your website belonged to the Savior would He provide the Gospel online? Whatever differences, theological or otherwise, we might have had with these great evangelists and missionaries can we at least see their love for The Lost matches or exceeds our own? The question remains…why wouldn’t you add the Gospel to your Church’s website?
Reaching the Lost
To declare to those without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ how they might be forgiven of their sin and receive Eternal life through Jesus Christ alone. To make the Gospel available to reach those specifically who are most likely to look for spiritual help online. The few times and places the Gospel has been available online, has historically been a passive technology, much like tracts left for someone to pick up or Bibles in hotel rooms.
Since you can’t simply hand someone a tract, preach them a sermon or discuss the gospel over a cup of coffee you can do the next best thing; namely, make it possible for them to providentially “find” the Gospel on your Church’s website; much like “finding” a Bible in a hotel room or while scanning their radio they “happen” upon an evangelistic sermon on a Christian radio station. (See Use by Members below for even greater impact). With the advent of the “World Wild Web” the Church of Jesus Christ, for the first time ever, has the means and opportunity to make the Gospel available in their communities and around the world where there may or may not be an evangelical witness.
Let me ask you honestly; is there a more important reason for having a Church website than to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Until now Proclamation has pretty much been limited to activities within the four walls. I’m not referring to the overall motivation; to inform those who either want to visit your Church or currently attend. After all, once someone becomes a believer it is imperative they continue in their discipleship ministry and part of that process includes keeping them informed of opportunities for personal and spiritual growth: fellowship, prayer, worship, outreach, et al.
Information or Transformation
While most Church websites inform site visitors about service times, location, maps, staff and many details that make up the daily routine of the typical local Church, there are, oddly, very few that include information that can actually transform them. If we believe, and have experienced, the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ it’s not much of a stretch to ask why isn’t an “evangelical” Church ministry offering salvation to others online. TheaXiomNetwork Seven Reasons Your Church Needs the Gospel on Its Website 3 | P a g e © 2018 – TheaXiomNetwork.com encourages Churches who believe and teach Salvation through Jesus Christ alone to move their sites from a passive “brochure site” to a potentially life-changing site; from a site that merely “informs” to one that “transforms”!
At its simplest we define a clear online Gospel presentation as one where a person can learn they must: 1. Acknowledge and repent of their individual sinfulness 2. Agree that Jesus Christ is the Only means of forgiveness and eternal life 3. Personally accept Christ’s forgiveness based on a basic understanding of His sacrifice in their place Here’s our Non-copyrighted version of God’s Plan we provide to Churches.
We suggest it as a model if you don’t have one. Churches are limited in their Gospel Plan options because most of the others are copyrighted and therefore not available. We’re not suggesting that one visit to your site will win over the multitudes for Christ. Our own experience in coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ was much more circuitous and nuanced than that; at least from our human perspective. At any point in our own spiritual journey we probably would have benefitted from access to the Gospel. When we ask pastors and Church staff across the U.S. whether they offer their website visitors the opportunity to learn about Salvation, by far the majority say “no”.
When asked why the Gospel can’t be found on their sites the typical answer is, “I don’t know” or “we never thought about it”. We’ve never had any pastor who considers himself “evangelical” to say they shouldn’t have the Gospel available on their website. How is it possible that the most beneficial news to humankind that resides in the Body of Christ on earth is not available in the most likely place this generation will look to find it? The fear is that this generation of Church leaders runs the risk as never before of hiding its light “under a bushel” (Matthew 5:15). Several years ago during the waxing days of the internet I was casually discussing the topic of butterflies with a young lady. (No, I don’t remember why!?).
She challenged my comment so I told her I’d bring in an article I read the next day to prove my point. Instead, to my surprise, she opened up a browser, Netscape I believe, on her computer and within seconds was able to confirm what I said. That incident taught me that young folks, even then, weren’t Seven Reasons Your Church Needs the Gospel on Its Website 4 | P a g e © 2018 – TheaXiomNetwork.com “The ‘crisis at the heart of the church is that we give disciple-making lip service, but do not practice it.” * * Bill Hull – The Disciplemaking Pastor Isn’t sharing the Gospel implied in the definition of a (growing) disciple? It’s time we provide our disciples with the tools they need, online and print, then get out of their way and let them do the job for which God has prepare them! bothering to search for and read a book or article. Why would they?
They could find out nearly everything they needed or wanted online in seconds. How much more is this true today? This might seem like a quaint story about “way back when” but there was actually a time when searching on the web was an unknown activity. The fact that it no longer is makes my larger point of Seekers looking online for spiritual succor. Will they look at your Church’s website? Will they find it? The Internet exposes our truancy while at the same time remaining available to broadcast the Gospel to the world. Where would most Americans go to learn about Christ?
Undoubtedly, many who are looking for truth will look for or end up at the sites of cults, false religions or those antithetical to Christ. Or be distracted by the increasing availability of entertainment (news, porn, games etc.) In former days a Bible in hotels and motels throughout the U.S. and the world suddenly transformed that space into a quiet sanctuary where one could encounter the love and forgiveness of God. So, your Church website becomes a potential “hallowed meeting place” for those online to know more about The Gospel or your Church…but it’s now available 24/7/365.
Always the hardest part…