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2003 PE Report

Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories


Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel

By Kirk Noonan (October 20, 2002)

Gerald Boyd loves the Internet for one reason: its potential as an evangelism tool. Each day, Boyd, 86, logs on around 8 a.m. After reading and responding to e-mails he visits chat rooms. Sometimes he begins conversing right away; other times he watches the text conversations for several minutes before focusing in on one person.

"When I first started going online I didn’t want to stop to eat or sleep," says Boyd, a retired Assemblies of God minister who lives in Carmel, Calif. "I am a soul winner and when I saw so many lost souls on the Internet I wanted to minister to all of them and not miss one of them."

According to Nua Internet Surveys, which bills itself as the world’s leading resource for Internet trends and statistics, there are nearly 600 million people online each month. For Boyd, who admits he is not tech-savvy, and other cyber-evangelists, that’s proof positive that the Internet is a massive mission field desperate for missionaries.

"I can’t understand why there are not more people doing what I am doing," says Boyd, who also has a Web site for his ministry, "If someone knows the Word and can type, he or she should be online ministering."

Andrew Careaga, 41, from Rolla, Mo., shares Boyd’s passion. So much so that he wrote E-vangelism: Sharing the Gospel in Cyberspace, a book detailing the do’s and don’ts of cyber-evangelism. According to Careaga, one of the best ways to introduce people to Christ online is through friendship evangelism, and that sometimes takes time.

"Things move quickly online and it’s difficult to establish long-term relationships, but there are a lot of people going online to find relationships and a sense of community," Careaga says. "We need to realize that God’s timing is different — even on the Internet. If we are patient and pray that God will give us divine appointments, we can see some interesting results."

In the past year, Boyd says he has led 150 people to salvation in Christ over the Internet.

"God has changed my life and given me an inner peace that I had never known," a former satanist wrote to Boyd after Boyd spent several weeks ministering to him. "I truly did ask Jesus to come into my life and I am happy now."

Like Careaga, Boyd strongly believes in friendship evangelism. But he also uses nearly 60 messages he sends to those he meets online, ranging from the value of Scripture memorization to how to overcome depression. After a person has accepted Christ as Savior, Boyd continues the relationship through discipleship, prayer and pointing the new believer to a cogent church.

There are many ways to minister on the Internet — such as conducting online Bible studies and prayer chains, distributing digitracts, and posting messages on message boards. According to Pew Internet & American Life, 3 million Americans obtain religious and spiritual material from the Internet each day. Some get that kind of information from Web sites such as

Whereas Boyd traverses the Internet in search of people to minister to, Peggie Bohanon, 61, a Christian homemaker and writer, created Peggie’s Place, which draws thousands of visitors each month. There, surfers find information and links relating to Christian resources, current events, education and family, plus devotionals written by Bohanon and a clear presentation of the gospel. In less than seven years the site has had more than 5 million page views from more than 170 countries and territories.

"Ministering on the Internet is ministering on the frontlines of technology," says Bohanon, who lives in Springfield, Mo., and serves as executive editor for the Internet for Christians newsletter and as a children’s writer for the A/G’s Global University.

Like Boyd, Bohanon sees herself as a missionary and claims that anyone with an interesting life experience or hobby and a calling from God can become a cyber-evangelist.

"People can develop a Web site based on virtually any interest they have," Bohanon says. "Internet evangelism is the most exciting and fulfilling ministry I have done in my life."

Experts say key elements to cyber-evangelism are for Christians to connect with others on a non-spiritual level first; be keenly interested in others; avoid Christian jargon and being preachy; memorize key salvation scriptures; be a good listener; and, most of all, pray for divine appointments.


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