Three years ago, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) shifted its focus to online evangelism. It laid off about 50 people—10 percent of its staff—and “redeployed resources to focus on areas of greater impact.”
The change seems to be paying off. In 2014, the BGEA shared the gospel with almost 9.5 million people around the world. Of those, only about 180,000 were in a live audience at a crusade, while 7.5 million were reached through BGEA websites.
Of the 1.6 million people who told the BGEA they prayed “to accept Jesus Christ as [their] Savior” in 2014, less than 15,000 did so in person, while more than 1.5 million did so with the click of a mouse.
Since the BGEA launched its family of evangelistic websites—which include SearchForJesus.net and PeaceWithGod.net—less than 4 years ago, more than 5 million people have indicated a decision for Jesus.
More than 20,000 people view a gospel presentation every day, essentially “a crusade a day online,” said John Cass, the BGEA’s Internet evangelism director.
And the BGEA isn’t even the biggest kid on the block. Global Outreach Media (GMO), which began in 2004 as part of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) and spun off in 2011, reports more than 30 million online decisions for Jesus in 2014 out of 400 million viewed presentations across its 250 sites.
The numbers are mind-boggling—and accurate, said Michelle Diedrich, GMO’s chief marketing officer. “We have had our tracking and reporting verified and our systems audited. The great thing about the Internet is it’s all trackable.”
While some doubt that eternal salvation can be gained with the click of a button, ...1