The Internet: The New Missionary Challenge of the Twenty-first Century

While the author gathered ideas for this article, Google
Earth showed where people around the world were coming
to faith in Christ. 

While composing these few lines, like anyone writing for Lausanne World Pulse, my fingers are dancing over the keyboard of my computer. Indeed, the personal laptop has brought a dramatic change to our daily lives. Who could have foreseen the impact of this revolution just a few years ago?

As I write, Google Earth lights up a portion of my screen. Within the last two years, Google Earth has become one of the most popular software products. Free access allows anyone to catch an aerial view of his or her own home or to sneak a peek at his or her next vacation spot.

However, I am looking at Google Earth for a different reason. An international team with whom I work linked Google Earth to an evangelistic website that we currently have translated into seven languages. Each time a person indicates that he or she prayed to receive Christ as his or her Savior, I see in real time where that person is located. The image of the earth keeps spinning as one person after another becomes a Christian.

Witnessing this, I rejoice, minute by minute, as one person after another comes to know Jesus Christ somewhere in the world. During the last few moments, while I gathered my ideas for this article, people from Morocco, China, France, Egypt, Algeria, Canada, the United States, and England came to Jesus!

The Lord predicted that the good news of the kingdom would be preached all around the world, serving as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end would come.

It has been ten years since I started using the Internet to share the gospel. In the beginning, the site was used to promote our local church. It was very likely one of the first websites used in France for that purpose. A few years ago, the site expanded in order to meet the needs of French-speaking Christians. From that broader concept, and more recently, I decided to launch multiple evangelistic websites aimed at reaching all the major languages of the Internet. We want to help millions of people come to know Christ, one by one.

Missionary Field
I do not see the Internet as a tool. Instead, I consider the Internet to be a missionary field. In 1865, Hudson Taylor created the China Inland Mission because he had the vision to reach China with the gospel. The 1.2 billion people using the Internet are just as important as the ones Taylor was seeking to reach. Today, when people search for God, Jesus, the Bible, or faith, very often they make their search using the Internet. According to Google Zeitgeist, “Who is God?” was one of the most-searched phrases on the Internet in 2007.

This is one of seven translations of an evangelistic website
where people around the world are learning about Jesus.  

Our calling is to go around the world preaching the good news to the entire creation. Why not send missionaries to our world’s newest continent…the Internet?

A missionary called to proclaim the gospel on a continent, or to a people, must be sensitive to all the human needs he or she observes. While remaining focused on his or her vocation to preach the gospel, he or she also has an obligation to respond to all of the needs of his or her missionary field.

Therefore, through these few lines I am issuing my passionate plea. We have an urgent need for more missionaries on the Internet. These same missionaries, working in coordination with one another, could increase the visibility of Christian websites. When someone types the word “God” into a Google Search, 365 million responses are suggested. A person would have to visit one million web pages, every day, for one year, in order to see everything listed! That is impossible. A better option would be to strengthen the visibility of the few quality websites devoted to evangelism.

Moved with Compassion to Transform the World
Every Christian could take up this challenge. The number-one, most popular religious website on the Internet is a site devoted to Islam. According to the worldwide classification of websites on the Internet, that Islamic site is ranked as the 600th most popular site overall with one million visitors per day.

By contrast, the number-one, most popular Christian website is ranked much lower at position number three thousand. It boasts only 300,000 visitors per day worldwide. We cannot continue to tolerate that kind of inequality. It is not a matter of rivalry with another religion, or a matter of competition; more accurately, it is a question as to the measure of our compassion for the lost and our obedience to God.

How can we explain the fact that Christians born in the country in which the Internet was invented (the United States)—and where the most technologically-advanced companies are dominating world markets—have not yet reacted to this spiritual challenge and been open to opportunity?

We need to revive the missionary mindset our spiritual fathers once possessed. When they discovered a new continent, they said to themselves, “Let’s go into that land and proclaim the gospel, or let’s give generously to those who are called to go.” All of us know that the only way anyone can truly obtain liberty and fulfillment is by coming to Jesus Christ. Let us send this message of hope throughout the newest continent in the world, the Internet. Let us ask the Lord to supply the human and financial resources needed for this worldwide mission.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he was moved in his heart because the people were lost and uncertain. They looked like sheep without a shepherd. Pray for the millions of people who connect to the Internet, because, like the crowds for whom Jesus wept, those surfing the Internet do not have a shepherd either. Ask God, “What do you want me to do?” Then follow him into the challenge he lays before you.

Would you like to be involved in the online mission field? If so, email me at: [email protected].

May the compassion of God invade our hearts, once again, and together, let’s transform the world!

Eric Célérier is a French pastor and founder of, a Christian Internet portal for French speaking people which receives 1.2 million visits per month. He also initiated and is an active member of the Lausanne Strategy Working Group. He and his wife, Muriel, and their three children live near Paris.