God’s plan is riskier – but more rewarding – than the one you have in mind.
Yesterday a number of you shared with me recent comments made by Josh McDowell, including his opinion that the Internet is the greatest threat to Christians. It’s never helpful to attack anyone in the Church, and I respect Josh McDowell greatly. (In fact, my non-profit’s online church in Poland distributes McDowell’s book More Than A Carpenter to new believers to whom our team ministers.) I share this response to present a side of the issue that isn’t mentioned in The Christian Post article.
I agree with Josh McDowell when he states that many young “evangelical, fundamental, born-again Christians” believe “There is no truth apart from myself”. While this is a watered-down worldview present in the Church that could be a result of youth being exposed to incorrect teaching online, this attitude also develops when we as parents fail to:
1) establish God’s Word as authority
2) exemplify Christ in our relationships and money or time expenditures
3) discuss the tough issues (sex, drugs, homosexuality, porn, addiction, etc.) with our kids before someone else does
When we don’t take responsibility for investing Godly influence in our kids’ lives, they search other sources for answers (particularly on the Internet).
…And this is why Church Online is a necessity! While I don’t know whether Josh McDowell mentioned online ministry in the speech referred to above, I will not pass up the opportunity to state that the plethora of anti-God information available online needs to be met with equal access to Truth. The Church’s presence online is crucial. When God’s word is shared on the Internet, we’re claiming territory for His Kingdom and glory.
Those of you who volunteer online know that countless times each week people ask spiritual questions and express doubt or fears related to God, many of them having never had the opportunity to discuss them face to face with a trusted grown-up during their formative years. If a person didn’t feel comfortable discussing spiritual matters with caretakers as a teen, they aren’t likely to darken the door of a local church to get answers as an adult.
So rather than create division among believers over what is *truly* the greatest threat to Christians, let’s directly address how to shine our lights in the darkness around us online (without cutting off the Internet access in our homes).
The Internet is not going to disappear, and it’s our role to set healthy boundaries at work, home, and in our families to be responsible. Tami & Toni of @LiveSticky say it well: …there is no need to renounce your residency in The Land of Shiny Things [the digital age] or mask the evidence of your connected life. There’s no shame. This is the hour to which you’ve been born—so by all means, power up! Just power up the way God wants you to. That means with God-breathed strategy; Holy Spirit power, and divine discernment.
One of my trusted resources for parenting wisdom in the digital age (which would not be available to me were it not for the Internet) is the blog of my friend Chris Spradlin at EpicParent.tv. Take a look at Josh.org, too – where McDowell has a number of biblical resources to help you answer others’ (or your own) spiritual questions. Finally, I want to share a project that is near to my heart, ThePornEvent.com, as a resource for people already struggling following exposure to the dark side of what’s available online.
Do you think the Internet is our greatest threat? If you allow your kids to get online, how do you navigate the issues presented here?
Thanks for joining the discussion,
PS – My prayer is that church online be available in every country around the globe so that people who are far from God would hear the Gospel in their own language. Interested? Check out my non-profit organization, which is already involved in projects in 28 different countries, BlueDoor.tv.
I couldn’t be happier to speak about church online on October 15 in London at the Christian New Media Conference! Why? 1) Church Online changes lives. 2) London is my favorite city in the world. (I lived there 2007-2009.)
To squeeze some extra productivity out of the trip, I’m also organizing a Church Online 101 workshop at Milton Keynes Christian Center a few days prior to the conference.
CAN’T WAIT TO SEE SOME OF YOU THERE!
I’ll post details as they begin to take shape.
…Slovakia! Some of you might know our family spent a special week in the home of Pastor Milan Presburger two summers ago. Pastor Milan officiated a renewal of our wedding vows on our anniversary (see pic below), and our families share a love for good food and coffee, the experience of adoption, and a passion for global evangelism. In 2010 my husband Chris returned to Slovakia to provide video training for Milan (see pic below), and I’ve had the opportunity in recent months to provide training and preparation for Milan and his team via Skype.
By receiving donations from people just like you, my non-profit organization BlueDoor.tv provided funding and training for this project to take shape. I am thrilled to know that in a short time people in Slovakia who are seeking God but are not yet comfortable attending a local church will have the unique opportunity to hear the hope of Christ online.
Please join me in praying for Pastor Milan and his team as they face spiritual attack and enter the final weeks of detailed preparation for their online church’s launch.
My dream to form online churches in other languages began to take shape on the balcony of a hotel room in Guatemala City in 2007. As you can imagine, it’s especially dear to my heart for our non-profit organization, BlueDoor.tv, to have funded and trained the team for last week’s launch in Guatemala!
Around 50 people attended from many different countries, and 2 people committed their lives to Christ last week during the ComunidadGlobal.tv Spanish services. (Note: Comunidad Global translates to “Global Community” in English.)
Here’s a message I received from my BlueDoor.tv partner in Guatemala following the service that explains so well the joy of online ministry:
I couldn’t help my tears roll down my face when I saw the 2 hands – 2 people accepting Christ right where they were!!!! I believe this is God’s answer to hundreds of prayers to Expand the Kingdom of God through technologies that would reach people who hadn’t been reached yet, and that so many good people have wanted to reach for so many years!
Thank you Bluedoor! Thank you Dana and Team! We cannot express how grateful we are for this wonderful opportunity and for partnering with you. Thank you for believing that God can do great things through Comunidad Global.
May our Lord bless you abundantly! If you need us, we are here for you!
This is just the beginning of an amazing adventure in God!
All glory to God for changed lives around the world thanks to the Guatemalan team’s heart for sharing the Gospel online! Tomorrow I’ll tell you which country will launch the next BlueDoor.tv online church.
PS – You may donate to help BlueDoor.tv train and equip teams to share the Gospel online in other languages. Thank you!
I LOVE this idea I came across at CNN a few days ago. It’s really got my heart racing because it has to do both with 1) forming online community and 2) travel. CNN is using their platform to invite readers around the world to submit photos, videos, travel tips, stories, and information about 13 different global destinations. The benefits are endless:
* People can reminisce and share special memories and gather around common interests.
* Contributors or those leaving comments could meet up face to face in the regions they’re discussing.
* Potential travelers can learn a wealth of information from others who’ve been to those very corners of the Earth.
* This is a free service.
* New friends will be made, based upon a shared experience or love for a region of the world.
The beauty of this project is that it functions like a sort of wiki. Anyone can add their content about a specific location they’ve visited for the benefit of countless people who will read. (See CNN’s disclaimer below.)
Ok, friends. I know that a number of you who read this blog are innovative, you’re developers, global-oriented, and more. How could we take this model and translate it into something that accelerates global evangelism or the Church community as a whole?