Jerry used to deliver Wonder bread and Hostess snacks, but now the Ohio man delivers something that never expires: the timeless Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of a delivery truck, he uses a computer from the comfort of his own home.
“This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, … to have the privilege of leading [people] to the Lord,” he said. BGEA’s Internet evangelism ministry Search for Jesus gave him the perfect opportunity. Jerry is now one of more than 160 specially trained volunteers with Search for Jesus and dedicates his free time to e-counseling.
Here’s how it works: When people search for answers to their spiritual questions online, Search for Jesus can point them to its evangelistic website, PeaceWithGod.net. There, visitors hear about God’s love and plan for them, and see video testimonies from people whose lives were changed by Christ. While on the website, they have a chance to chat online with a trained Christian counselor like Jerry.
Counselors sign up to chat at times that work with their schedules.
“I can’t wait ’til my time comes up,” Jerry said. Eager to start each new conversation, he signs in early to see what other counselors are chatting about.
“My faith has increased because I’m doing more studying,” he said. Jerry chats with people in all kinds of situations, but said he doesn’t judge them and just wants to help. The openness works both ways.
Jerry remembers trying to minister to a woman he met in a retirement home once, and she didn’t want to listen to him because he’s not a pastor. But on the Internet, the people he chats with “don’t know what you look like or what you do,” he said. “They’re looking for help, and as long as you give the right words, they’re going to go for it.”
Like other volunteers, Jerry knows the Holy Spirit helps guide his responses. It’s not just about him communicating with others but about what God can do through him.
Both e-counselors and discipleship coaches receive training and support through the Search for Jesus ministry. Discipleship coaches mentor people who give their lives to Christ through PeaceWithGod.net by leading the new believers through an online Bible study.
Volunteers often say that God leads them to people they can relate to. Take, for example, a person Jerry recently chatted with whose mother turned to witchcraft. The site visitor “didn’t know what to believe,” he said. Yet, through Jerry’s own background and studies, he could identify with and encourage the person to seek the truth.
Jerry typically chats with people at night and said his wife gets excited when he leads people to the Lord. He said he feels more equipped to help counsel others in his community.
To volunteer or learn more, click here. Read parts one, two and three by clicking under “Related Articles” below.