United Church of God

10 Seconds of Truth: Preaching the Gospel on the Internet

You are here

10 Seconds of Truth

Preaching the Gospel on the Internet

Real estate agents tell sellers that from the time a prospective buyer walks through the door, you have seven to 10 seconds to make a good first impression. We face the same kind of challenge in preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Christ commanded His Church to preach to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20), but He never said they would all listen. We can preach, but only He can call. In a world jaded by religious confusion and charlatans, most people who are not religious do not want to hear about religion. Even the religious often don't want to hear truth that contradicts their beliefs. When they come across our message, we have 10 seconds or less to get their attention. Today the audience is in control. They have many options. There are over 1.6 billion Internet users, but with a click of the mouse they can turn you off in midsentence and look elsewhere. Grabbing Attention and Holding It We can post the gospel all over the Web, but if people can't find it, it will do them no good. If they do find our message but it doesn't catch their interest in a few seconds, they will move on, and still, it has done them no good. We are working to overcome both of these barriers. We need to help people find our sites, but the sites must immediately interest the searcher. To help them find us, we are making our material more visible and attractive to the search engines. We do this in several ways. One is advertising. Another is using good explanatory descriptions of the material. A third is promoting viral activity—and you can help. We have created a Web page to help you learn how to share our Web content. Go to members.ucg.org/internet for more information. Online tutorials will be available soon to give you step-by-step instruction on how to bookmark and share our Web content. Once we grab their attention, we want to hold it. To do that we have to build compelling content that offers answers to questions and problems common to man. Creating such content is presently our biggest challenge, but we have begun. We will get better at producing valuable content. We will get better at serving those who come to visit our sites. We will get better at using the Internet. A Very Powerful Tool Video is an increasingly popular kind of Internet content. The Church has now posted over 275 videos on YouTube since December 2006. These have been viewed over 450,000 times. Until recently, we have not been able to track what viewers did beyond that. But with present technology we now know that the 64 GN Commentary videos posted since November 2008 have been viewed 43,000 times and that 41,000 of those viewers followed up by visiting a Web page at gnmagazine.org. These visitors are scattered around the world and many are visitors we would not have generated without the videos. Once they land at our Web page, they have the opportunity for exposure to the entire gospel. The Internet is a wonderful tool for delivering the gospel to, possibly, billions if God should so choose. But is just delivering the message enough? Building Relationships With Those Who Respond The truth of God and the plan of salvation are all about relationships—relationships between people and their Creator and between people and other people. Christ has sent His followers into the world to preach the good news. But in order for it to take root in the hearers, we can't just give them information—we need to share with them a new way of life. We are His ambassadors. We have to build relationships with those who respond to the gospel and let them see God working in us! We understand, of course, that only God can call people, but we have to help them see that the Bible can lead them to hope and peace. How can they ever come to know God and serve Him if they don't come to know His brethren and ministry? The apostle Paul said, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14). In the wilderness of religious confusion, we must speak with a clear and certain voice the words of God. In our day, there has never been a better platform than the Internet. It allows us to interact with people in a way that has never before been possible in any other broadcast or print medium. If we use it wisely, perhaps people will find the truth in 10 seconds or less and keep it for a lifetime. UN