I have had the privilege for over ten years of working in various capacities with Gospelcom.net, the Internet outreach of Gospel Communications International (GCI). It has been a joy to watch individuals and ministries take hold of this technology and develop creative ways to share the good news of Jesus Christ via the Internet. GCI’s participation in the Internet Evangelism Coalition and my own opportunities for interaction with ministries around the world have allowed me to witness firsthand the passion of Internet evangelists and the potential of the Internet for sharing the gospel with millions.
Online Scripture Resources
The following are four excellent scripture sites available on the web:
GCI began in 1995 and was later renamed Gospel Films. As we sought to venture into the world of cyberspace, we hired as our first “webmaster” a student from Calvin College (Michigan, USA). Not only was Nick a true genius at working with the brand new world of www and html, he also had a grasp of the possibilities of this new communications technology. While still a student at Calvin, Nick had begun to make the content of scripture easily available via the web. He called this tool the “Bible Gateway.”
As we began to plan for the direction of Gospelcom.net, we quickly came to the conclusion that a tool like the Bible Gateway would be foundational for any type of lasting Internet ministry. If we could help make the words of scripture easily accessible and readily available, with as many different translations and languages as possible, individuals and ministries around the world that wanted to use Internet technology for outreach would be able to tap into this resource.
Today, through partnership with publishers and Bible societies around the world, Bible Gateway has become our “largest” online property and one of the most visited religious sites in the world. Not only can individuals come to the Bible Gateway site to search the scriptures in multiple languages and translations, but thousands of websites around the world can link directly to scripture passages or draw content into their own sites.
The Bible Gateway has provided the outlets for ministry that we anticipated with putting the scriptures online. There has also been countless “God moments,” when people using the web have come face to face with scripture, often without knowing how they got there. I remember an extended email conversation I had in 1996 with a person who, although skeptical, had some very deep questions about the nature of scripture. When I asked him how he had come to find the Bible Gateway, he said he had “linked in” from the official site of the Paramount Studios film, Mission Impossible. One of the clues to unraveling the mystery in the film was a verse from the Bible, and someone from Paramount had linked from the Mission Impossible site to the Bible Gateway.
As you consider how God would have you use Internet technology for outreach (or how you can grow in your own spiritual journey), consider familiarizing yourself with Internet scripture resources. They can indeed become a strong foundation for your personal or organizational ministry.