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Is digital evangelism/online evangelism effective?

digital evangelism, online evangelism

Digital evangelism involves using the internet, social media, mobile applications, and websites to share the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, make Christian disciples, and further the work of God’s kingdom on earth. Between 2010 and 2014, some of the world’s largest evangelistic organizations, including the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Global Media Outreach (GMO), began shifting their focus and resources from live audiences to online evangelism. As a result, these ministries claim to be making a greater impact around the world than ever before, with the most considerable advantage being the ability to “engage people’s hearts anytime, anywhere” (Zylstra, S. E., “Evangelism: Do Digital Decisions Disciple?” Christianity Today International, 2015, p. 17).

Since the early days of the Christian church, evangelism methods have adapted, making the most of every possible opportunity and means of communication available. Jesus connected with people one-on-one (John 3:1–21) and in large crowds (Matthew 4:25). The earliest disciples preached in the synagogues where people gathered (Acts 13:14–16; 14:1; 17:2; 18:4), in the streets (Acts 17:16–34), and in people’s homes (Acts 10:24–25; Luke 5:29). They also used handwritten literature (John 20:30–31; Luke 1:1–4; Acts 1:1–2) and letters (Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27) to reach into remote areas and share the gospel with the broadest possible audience. In 1 Corinthians 9:19–23, the apostle Paul outlined his evangelism strategy of using every means available to him so “that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel” (verses 22–23, ESV).

Until the fifteenth century, the lion’s share of evangelism was done through in-person preaching, teaching, and personal witnessing. However, with the invention and advancement of the printing press, Christian evangelism revolutionized, eventually putting books, Bibles, tracts, and other Christian materials and magazines into the hands of literate people worldwide. More recent electronic breakthroughs further widened the field for Christians to use radio, television, and film to spread the gospel. Thus, with today’s technological advancements, it’s easy to understand why digital evangelism has become a popular trend in Christian outreach strategies.

Presently, more people are online than ever before. About 5 billion—66 percent of the world’s population—use the internet daily (, accessed 11/6/23). The average American spends about seven hours a day online. If we want to reach the people of today, it only makes sense to include digital resources in our evangelist endeavors.

Jesus commanded His followers, “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Our potential to fulfill the Great Commission has exponentially increased through the use of the internet, allowing believers to connect with people almost anywhere in the world, even in the most restricted nations. An additional benefit of online evangelism is that it costs less than most other outreaches. In 2015, GMO reported spending less than five cents for each digital exposure to the gospel (, accessed 11/14/23).

Nevertheless, many Christians believe face-to-face encounters like door-to-door witnessing, street preaching, live crusades, church services, or any method of one-on-one, relationship-based evangelism is more effective than digital evangelism because such approaches allow for personal connections, follow-up, and discipleship support. Opponents of online evangelism say that accepting Christ by clicking a button can lead to false expectations about salvation and one’s relationship with God. Converts may lack physical role models and a sense of community and connection to the body of Christ.

Most ministries that embrace digital evangelism recognize the limitations of the internet. The worldwide web is merely a tool God has given believers to reach the lost. The local church—the body of Christ—is, was, and always will be the core of Christianity. We cannot thrive as believers in isolation. Christians need regular, real-life, day-to-day fellowship with other believers to grow spiritually and to persevere in the faith (Hebrews 10:24–25). Online evangelism can effectively win someone to the Lord, but authentic fellowship with other members of Christ’s body is the road to discipleship and Christian maturity.

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Is digital evangelism/online evangelism effective?
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This page last updated: December 18, 2023