Andreasen Explains Internet As Outreach Tool
By C. Warren Andreasen –
I doubt there’s a person over the age of six and living in the developed world who has not heard of or knows something about the Internet.
My desire is to help people better understand what the Internet is and how it can be used by Salvationists as a tool to win people to Christ.
Simply put, the Internet is a collection of computers that have a way to talk to each other, with no center, no end–covering the world like a net. The World Wide Web (www) is a set of standards allowing everyone else to “speak” the same language. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you use–if you conform to www standards, everybody else on the web can communicate with you.
Internet activity can be broken down into three groups: communication by electronic mail (email); “surfing” or “browsing” the web; and making and supporting a web page.
The web page is where we find an outreach tool. Think of this page as your home or corps–an address people can go to, or a store front people can come and look into and, if interested, can come in and look around. I find the best way to attract people to a page is to offer a service. In my case, I have compiled and maintain a list of all known Salvation Army on-line users. I include a registration page so people can ask to be added and the list keeps growing.
I also offer newsletters from Salvationists working in the former Soviet Union and other parts of the world. People can post urgent prayer requests and report on answered prayer. In addition, I have links to all other Army pages that I know of, as well as the ability to click and mail to anyone in the directory.
I cannot tell who visits my page unless they tell me, and because of this anonymity people feel free to browse. One letter I received was in broken English, from a government official in Slovenia, part of the old Soviet Union. He told me he is the mayor of a town in SE Slovenia, and that he became a Christian 18 years ago. He has a wife and four children. He said he had heard of The Salvation Army but knows nothing about it. He wants to serve his people and has been praying God would allow him to discover sources of material and spiritual help that would help him.
I have passed his request to some of our people in the CIS (old USSR). Who knows what doors can be opened by this contact? God is at work. The fact I am in Phoenix., Ariz., and he is in Slovenia has no meaning at all. God has led him to us and now we respond and continue in a growing dialog.
With a web page ministry, we must forget the idea of officer, soldier, division, territory or country, as all of these things do not exist on the web. We just have a person talking to a person.
A web page isn’t hard to create. All you need is a service provider (under $20 per month), a book or two, someone you can ask a few questions, and a desire to do the Lord’s work…without having to leave your home. When you are ready and feel called to a ministry on-line, get started and into the business of encouragement and the winning of souls!