Michael McDonald is not a missionary, but he does talk to people around the world about Christ.
A father of six, as well as a grandfather, he recently began serving as a trained volunteer discipleship coach for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s (BGEA) internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus (SFJ).
The online ministry has hundreds of volunteers like Michael who answer spiritual questions and explain what it means to be a Christian. They talk with people who’ve made their way to PeaceWithGod.net, often while searching for answers to life’s deepest questions. The website is interactive and explains the Gospel in simple terms.
In 2018, Search for Jesus Volunteers:
– Served more than 119,000 hours online
– Answered 116,100 emails from online visitors
– Conducted nearly 36,000 live chats through PeaceWithGod.net
– Mentored 7,150 people in an online discipleship course
– Responded to 6,220 Facebook Messenger comments
– SFJ received 789 requests to be connected to a local church
Michael lives in Australia, where Franklin Graham recently wrapped up the six-city Graham Tour, crisscrossing the continent to share the Gospel. While Franklin Graham, Will Graham and other BGEA evangelists reach people for Christ at stadiums throughout the world, Michael and other SFJ volunteers share hope online.
Ministry volunteers from the U.S., Canada, Spain, Mexico, Australia and the United Kingdom engage with people around the world from their computers or mobile devices.
Johan,* who Michael recently guided through the online Know Jesus discipleship course, wrote a beautiful thank you note.
“Coach this changed my life. Your guidance changed my perception of how God looks at us.”
Michael was floored, not knowing he had helped make such an impact on Johan’s heart. He continued reading.
“God has really used you to bring me back to Him. I’m no longer the same. I have started my Christian life all over again and this time I’m determined never to look back again.”
“As a new coach, I was stunned, completely humbled and wept after I read it again,” Michael explained.
Johan was the first person he had guided through Know Jesus. The free course explains what it means to be a Christian and how to follow Christ.
As he processed the change in Johan’s life, Michael had another moment.
It occurred to him for the first time that he was doing missions work. Johan lived in Africa, while Michael was in Australia.
“Even though I’m not an overseas missionary, Search for Jesus gives me the opportunity to be one,” he said.
His thoughts next trailed to his church family. They may not be street evangelists, he thought, but they might be a good fit for an online ministry. Search for Jesus would give them the opportunity to interact with others who have spiritual questions.
Michael couldn’t hold onto his excitement. He felt God leading him to share this joy with his pastor and invited him over.
After reading the note and hearing about Search for Jesus, his pastor was moved as well and asked Michael to introduce the volunteer opportunity at church.
A simple note of gratefulness had become a catalyst to encourage more Christians to share their faith.
Michael couldn’t hide his delight in receiving the note and being used as an instrument of God.
“There were a couple times Johan revealed his heart,” he said. “But again, I didn’t really know what impact the Holy Spirit was making until Johan’s final comments.”
As Christians, Michael said, we need to “pray, pray, pray” for those we’re sharing our faith with. “Because only the Lord knows what’s truly going on in [their] hearts!”
*Name changed to protect privacy.
You can share hope with people online, too. Learn more about volunteering with Search for Jesus.
Search for Jesus is working to connect people online with a local church. Learn how your church can get involved.