Since April 2011, more than 12 million people have indicated a decision for Christ through PeaceWithGod.net, part of BGEA’s Search for Jesus ministry, which aims to engage people with the Gospel online. That’s with the help of over 600 trained volunteers who are online missionaries of sorts, making themselves available to share Christ with anyone who has questions or wants to know more.
Throughout the past seven years, the ministry has reached virtually every country on earth, including some of the most remote parts of the globe difficult to access, and places otherwise closed to the Gospel. But it’s not just about the reach; it’s about a one-on-one, human-to-human connection. It’s more than telling people about Jesus; it’s about following up with them and providing online resources as they grow in their faith, and ultimately pointing to a local church community.
“God has made it possible to have Search for Jesus interactive websites in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and Chinese, the five most common languages used on the internet,” Franklin Graham said. “Some people locate these sites specifically to learn about Jesus Christ. Others discover the sites while searching for help with fear, hopelessness, or guilt.”
Here are four stories about people who have encountered Christ online:
A Poor Internet Connection—and a Heart—Restored
A man in Liberia, West Africa, used his smartphone and a spotty internet connection to find PeaceWithGod.net, an interactive Search for Jesus (SFJ) site that explains the Gospel. He was connected with a trained volunteer chat coach in Arkansas and began the conversation by saying, “I want to know how to find this Jesus I have been hearing about!”
The coach, praying as he typed, started explaining God’s plan of salvation. Halfway through, the coach’s screen went blank. His heart sank and his prayers instantly changed to asking God for the connection to be restored. Soon enough, the screen came back on.
“I was waiting,” wrote the Liberian man, eager to continue. The coach resumed sharing Scripture about Jesus Christ. After more discussion, the Liberian man prayed to receive Him into his life.
The coach then offered advice on reading the Bible and personal prayer, and about finding a church where he could grow in his faith. Afterward, the coach couldn’t stop praising God for this memorable online chat and for the new life in Christ that resulted.
A Massive Heart Attack, Two Bouts of Cancer & 48 Surgeries
A man visiting PeaceWithGod.net started an online chat with a SFJ volunteer by expressing a desire to be forgiven for his bad temper. During the conversation, something caused him to mention his health.
“I’ve been through 48 surgeries, two bouts of cancer and had a massive heart attack that surprised the doctors when I pulled through,” he typed.
The chat coach, sensing a nudge from the Holy Spirit, responded simply, “What is the condition of your heart?”
The man started to describe all the ways his heart is good now, but the chat coach used Scripture to point him to the spiritual condition of his heart. The man quickly recognized that sin was still rooted there. After going through the Steps to Peace with the online coach, he acknowledged that his temper problem was only a symptom of the bigger problem deep inside. In the Bible, God says, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you” (Ezekiel 36:26, ESV).
The man asked God to do exactly that, confessing his sins and receiving new life through faith in Jesus Christ. The coach then pointed him to resources for growing in his walk with God.
She Blamed God and Turned to Alcohol
Janine* was raised in church and her father was a Sunday school teacher, but she had drifted far from the Lord. She was in deep financial trouble and, when her son died of a drug overdose, she blamed God and turned to alcohol. Her family “prayed her into Alcoholics Anonymous,” but she refused to go near a church.
As her family continued to pray, she came across SFJ’s online Know Jesus discipleship course and decided to give it a try. The five-lesson course explores what it means to know Christ and live as a Christian. The first few lessons sparked a desire in Janine to get back to a relationship with God, but she had to drop her home internet access as part of her struggle to get out of debt.
Determined to continue, she completed the course over the next two months by visiting places with free Wi-Fi. Her online coach, named Ann, said her spiritual growth during that time was astounding.
“Her desire to study Scripture and develop a relationship with Jesus made my heart sing!” Ann said. Janine finally decided to attend church with her brother, and her desire to get involved keeps growing.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
Adrift Without Purpose
An older woman named Lucy* was increasingly troubled by a feeling that she had no purpose in life. Looking for answers, she came across a SFJ website and realized that Jesus Christ could give her true and lasting purpose. She made a decision to follow Him and signed up for the online Know Jesus discipleship course.
She was connected to an experienced volunteer coach named Charlene who guided her through the studies at her own pace, encouraging her, and answering her questions. When, weeks later, they reached the end, Lucy wrote: “I know in my heart that God led me to this course and has heard my prayers of repentance, forgiven me, and that His Holy Spirit is still with me and guiding me as I read and obey His Word.”
Then, as she reflected on all she had learned, she added a personal note to Charlene: “Your wisdom and encouragement, especially concerning the Holy Spirit and the importance of prayer, have helped me tremendously. I’m not going to waste my senior years, because God can still use me!”
*Name changed to protect privacy.