By Ed Wagner
I am amazed by how rapidly our methods of communicating are changing—especially in the internet marketplace.
Twenty-five years ago few of us were acquainted with the Internet. Today, communicating online has become incredibly popular. Most of us take it for granted. If you use email or Facebook, you know what I mean.
In fact the Internet has become, arguably, the world’s largest mission field. It’s staggering to realize that billions of people across the globe, even in undeveloped countries, are searching online for information about everything—including answers to their spiritual questions. It’s a larger, more easily reached mission field than the world has ever known; it’s literally at our fingertips! Could it be that Christ is calling many of us to become “online missionaries” for Him?
These thoughts most often come to my attention while traveling and using the internet to locate Adventist churches. I found something that disturbed me: Adventist churches do not show in Google search results unless the words “Adventist” or “SDA” are entered. For a non-Adventist seeking a local “church” online, Seventh-day Adventist churches were practically invisible.
This discovery led me to ask, Who was working on this? I made a lot of phone calls, thinking that surely someone must be paying attention. Surprisingly, no one seemed to know what I was talking about. People were building Adventist websites—many of them exceptional sites—but they did not understand how to make them visible so others could find them. No one was promoting Adventist churches or websites to make them easily accessible to people who are seeking the very things our churches and schools offer.
When I presented my findings at an Adventist conference about the need for improved visibility, I sensed plenty of interest. I asked who could take this on and got two responses: First, there was no budget for it. Second, there was no staff with the right expertise.
That's when I began to realize that a new organization of online missionaries might be needed to help our churches and schools connect more effectively with seekers online. At that time, it was not my goal to start such an organization, but I continued to discuss this need with other people and organizations.
When I finally decided this could wait no longer, Good News Advocates was born in 2012. Our biggest start-up challenge was getting the word out about our free services that can transform any website into a life-changing mission outpost.
Today we work closely with Adventist Church Connect. As word has spread, we have so many projects, it's difficult to do everything churches and schools would like us to do. So we're recruiting more online missionaries and seeking additional funding to support our online mission projects.
Growing recognition of the value of our work is good news. Millions are asking spiritual questions via the internet. As they “Google” for answers, more and more they’ll be able to find the three-angels’ message of salvation and a soon-coming Savior.
There is indeed a powerful new way to communicate, a new way to “tell it to the world” in every language. Good News Advocates is here to help.