Proclaiming the gospel in 'nanoseconds'
July 20 2001 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer

Proclaiming the gospel in 'nanoseconds' | Friday, July 20, 2001

Friday, July 20, 2001

Proclaiming the gospel in 'nanoseconds'

By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-treasurer If you've never heard of a "nanosecond," I hadn't either until Tom Jenkins, group leader in our state convention's strategic initiatives and planning area, mentioned a book on reaching people with the Gospel message by way of the Internet. The book, E-vangelism: Sharing the Gospel in Cyberspace, by Andrew Careaga, makes a convincing argument for utilizing the Internet as part of our Great Commission strategy. Despite the dot.com declines and other restructuring measures going on in the technology industry, distributing information on-line is here to stay. The Internet is significant if for no other reason than the sheer number of users hooked up to this technology. According to Careaga, who is scheduled to speak at our "Wired for Growth" conference to be held in Carrboro next September, some 135 million people worldwide have Internet service. Two million-plus people go on-line everyday looking for matters of spirituality, people with spiritual questions seeking answers from whatever is available. North Carolina, according to one study, is the fourth fastest growing state in terms of Internet growth.

The Internet affords us the opportunity to expand many of the services we already provide. Resources too costly to print and mail can now be downloaded virtually free to anyone, anywhere. Missionaries in remote areas can now easily and inexpensively communicate with the folks back home, or with one another. Prayer requests once limited to local or community-wide audiences are now shared with literally the world. Information once limited to only those with access to the largest and best libraries in the world has now been placed on the "low shelves" in the reach of everyone.

The Internet also brings challenges, especially to groups like the Baptist State Convention. Frankly, denominational agencies like ours were not exactly the first to embrace this new communications system. Although we established a Web site six years ago, we didn't hire a webmaster (Shane Nixon) until March 2000. Many religious groups -some more orthodox than others - have been on-line much longer, some with outstanding sites. Denominations, in the main, are far behind the pack. Too much of what we do is little more than a cyber-version of our printed materials. The Web must be interactive, where we talk to one another. Billy Graham, in his autobiography, Just As I Am, characterized his first chat room experience as "only an extension of what we had been doing throughout much of our ministry: seeking to use every means possible to extend the reach of the gospel."

Will we ever get there? Can the Baptist State Convention become a preferred-provider of on-line information?

One of my goals for the next five years is to give North Carolina Baptists instant, interactive access to all of our available resources. The only way to do that is by utilizing the Internet. We simply have no other viable choices. By the way, a "nanosecond" is one billionth of a second - that's how they measure the speed information travels to and from your computer.

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7/20/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments
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