As I’ve spoken with many Christian people, I’ve been asked some of these common questions.

Who are Campus Crusade for Christ and what do they emphasise in ministry?

The founders, Bill and Vonette Bright, had a vision of reaching the world for Christ by building spiritual movements through personal mentoring, training and equipping tomorrow’s leaders.  They wanted to ensure that each person they mentored became independent of them so that they could multiply their life and ministry in others (2 Tim 2:2). In 1951, they started a university student ministry at UCLA campus.  They saw this as an effective way to fulfil the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20).

Today, Campus Crusade for Christ is one of the world’s largest interdenominational missions. Although it started as a campus ministry and still is, we now have many hundreds of other non-campus ministries. The Australia office that we will be joining focuses on university students, youth & young adults, young professionals, sports chaplaincy, children’s ministries, families, women, church equipping and evangelism training, international aid and assisting our international partners in online follow up and mentoring.

As we reach out to minister to people via the Internet, we share this same vision and emphasis of personal mentoring and discipling that we feel reflects the life and example that Christ gave us.  We plan to build a new Australian Internet outreach team working in partnership with existing Australian ministries  as well as assisting our international online ministries.

Does online ministry really work?

We’ve now seen untold thousands of people (probably many millions now) discover a new life in Christ and begin their journey through online follow up and mentoring.  A large number of these people have journeyed with us as they grow in their new found faith.  Doing distance follow up is not a new idea.  Radio and TV broadcast ministries have been successfully doing this for decades. We’re just using the same proven process with new tools as the shift in global communications technology presents the opportunity.

That’s all very interesting but I’m not technical, so I don’t think I could get involved.

Actually if you look at how Internet ministries teams work, you will find that only a small percentage of the team are computer experts, most are well under 5%. A larger group is made up of full-time or volunteer writers, editors, graphic artists and video producers who prepare online content. But by far the largest group is a team of volunteers who do online mentoring. Like other broadcast communications ministries, technologists act as a key that unlocks a door but by far most of the work is done by non-technicians.

Really our aim and emphasis is on ministry to people.  Can you send an email?  Do you know how to share your faith?  Perhaps you’ve taught Sunday School. If so, then you’d likely qualify to join our online support team. I’m sure you’ve got many questions and perhaps some reservations.   We seek to answer these on this site:  www.MissionaryFromHome.com .

Hmm … so maybe God could call you to a ministry like this after all :) .

Are you trying to compete with or replace “face to face” missionary efforts?

We see all missions as a team effort. We will always need on the ground people (preferably local nationals) who best understand local needs, who can facilitate local caring ministries, local church planting and face to face counselling and mentoring. Since 2004, Tony has worked in partnership with campus teams that do just this and we see partnering as a pivotal aspect of our calling. We think that building relationships, teaching and mentoring is always best done “face to face” where possible.  When we do distance Internet mentoring we seek to compliment and frequently “pass the baton” on to local churches or other mission teams.  The vision of each of our planned projects includes some aspect of this.

The Internet and mobile phones are opening up new doors of opportunity; many of which cannot easily be realised using existing on the ground teams.  What we’ve discovered is that the Internet gives us a very effective way to reach the world that requires considerably less manpower and financial resources (sometimes by several orders of magnitude).  The fact remains that “the labourers are few” and it’s now clear from the experiences of existing Internet ministries that the “online fields are white”. A key objective then, is to use this opportunity to seek to accelerate the impact and reach of what can continue face to face.

Do people you contact ever end up in churches or do they just stay online?

As part of our online mentoring, we seek to encourage and assist people in becoming part of a local Christian community. In some regions this is more difficult and for many people we may be their only lifeline of support. Some people also find it more difficult to step out and make new friendships in a local church. Some people we follow up face temptations online such that we would discourage them continuing to use the Internet and recommend that they seek local help. So really it all depends on their circumstances.

The main point here is that we don’t idolise the Internet as being the “only” or “best” way to be ministered to. Rather, it’s just a tool that can successfully compliment other approaches.

Are you trying to create an online church?

No.  There are some churches and groups that are seeking to use the Internet in this way but we’re not planning to be one of them.

You can’t reach uneducated or remote tribal people via the Internet can you?

No mission claims to be able to reach everybody and we’re no different. Remember we’re just part of a large team. However, there are some interesting facts that suggest that Internet ministries can reach a much wider audience than you might expect. 50% of the world’s 6.1 billion people have mobile phone subscriptions including many previously remote regions. Many new phones now offer Internet access. Telecommunications companies plan to cover the entire planet by 2015. A new global satellite system due to be commissioned in 2012 will offer wholesale broadband – particularly for remote regions.  Computer literacy is also growing significantly particularly among the next generation of many countries. So the reach of the Internet is growing rapidly every day – even in regions you might not expect.

We also believe that when you do reach more people, many of them will go on to minister to their own local people – some of whom may be uneducated or live in remote or tribal regions! This is particularly the case if we seek to emphasise not just winning them to Christ but also equipping and mentoring them to be become spiritual leaders.

Next … You can learn more about us, our journey and our personal calling and ministry vision.