While it could be argued that there’s too much of that already, the site has a lot of information for how Christians can go about increasing their numbers using the internet, and provides some examples of what churches have done in the past.
Most of it just comes down to finding better ways of utilizing the technology they already have in place. Those who participate are motivated to improve what they’ve got in terms of websites and information available, not only for the “average modern-day pew sitter” who’d rather do evangelist podcasts from his comfy computer chair, but also for people “winning souls” in other parts of the world, like Paraguay and Nigeria.
Unfortunately, some of them want to promote internet use like the Pied Piper used his pipes to lure children. One church in Butler, PA, explained how they’d explained the internet to kids then gave them a card with internet sites included on the back of it.
the kids could use the Christian websites listed on the back to share the love of Jesus with their friends at school by simply inviting them to play the cool games at those sites. Everyone was encouraged to take extra cards, each with a balloon inside, to share with their friends.
Fun and games aside, that just seems cultishly sinister to me. Reel them in while they’re young and they might get to keep them forever, letting them grow up in a little tank, oblivious to the freedoms they might have had if they’d been left alone to grow up naturally…
Ah well, I think the trouble with internet evangelism is going to be the lure, not the bait. Yeah, there might be millions of fish in the internet sea but, if they’re not Christians already, are they going to be finding these sites, reading the testimonials or watching the youtube videos? Probably not. So that means potential evangelists have to think of more sneaky, spammy ways to trick them into it, like that “God is like a balloon” card the little kiddies got to pass around, and then keep them interested long enough to catch them for good.
How to finish…
The internet is a tool like anything else. It’s doing what newspapers, books, radio, and television have done for years – engaging the public. Someone savvy enough to think of a way to use it best will get the best results, be it the person looking for information, or the one providing it. I suppose there’s a tendency to look at this from a competitive angle, since people care about hits generated and ad money made. People have a drive to be popular and important, so they want their sites to be popular and important. The Christian angle is popular and important to those who promote it, so I can’t fault them for wanting to take the internet by storm.
It doesn’t make it any likelier that I’ll stop being an atheist, though, just because some church made a prettier website. I still have complete autonomy over my thoughts, deeds and actions. I don’t have to click their links, read their sites, listen to their advertisements or watch them preach.
And neither do you.
Edit Apr. 23/10: Paliban Daily has a snarkier post about this particular Christian day of note.