The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) celebrated reaching 10 Million indicated decisions for Christ in June. Each one has a name—and a story.
Like Ruth, a suicidal woman and self-described former devil worshiper who felt unworthy of God’s love because of her past mistakes.
Or Aban*, a 21-year-old Muslim man from Pakistan who wanted to know more about this Jesus who sacrificed his life for him.
In the past six years, over 50 million people like Ruth and Aban have come across BGEA’s evangelistic website, PeaceWithGod.net (or PazConDios.net in Spanish). On June 9th, the organization’s internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus—which oversees PeaceWithGod.net—thanked God for the 10 millionth indicated decision for Christ.
“It’s humbling and overwhelming to realize that God has given us the opportunity to introduce the Gospel to so many,” said Search for Jesus Director Mark Appleton.
God has drawn people to PeaceWithGod.net all kinds of ways. Maybe it’s through an online ad or a Facebook post or a link on someone’s blog. However they get there, each one is exposed to the unchanging Gospel—how God’s love for us runs so deep that he wants to guide us through life and spend eternity with us. And how we must first repair the broken relationship between us and him by putting our faith in our mediator, Jesus Christ.
Each one of the 50 million visitors who have experienced the Gospel has had an opportunity to respond, and on June 9, commitments to Christ came from places like Argentina, Hungary, Egypt, Cuba, India, Malaysia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and all over the U.S.—from Philadelphia to Detroit to Hermosa Beach, California.
It’s not lost on the ministry that in each of these locations is a real person with real needs. The goal with all of them is to share the hope offered by Jesus Christ, to disciple them in their faith and, when possible, to connect them with a local church.
One-on-one connections and follow-up have taken place with over 1.3 million of those online visitors so far—the ones who have passed along their contact info so someone from the Search for Jesus team can be in touch.
“With the growth of our reach, God has also raised up a team of ministry partners all over the U.S., Canada and now Mexico to bring personal ministry to our online presence,” Appleton said. “It is this team of nearly 600 trained coaches that bring depth and value to Search for Jesus.”
The ministry just reached another milestone last month: five years of volunteers, each one trained to offer spiritual guidance through live chat, email or an online discipleship course called Know Jesus. With hundreds of volunteers now, the ministry has made personal connections with thousands of people around the globe.
Jeff Ingram, who attends First Baptist Port St. Lucie, started serving as a Discipleship Coach for BGEA in October 2015 then trained to be the Area Coordinator. He is also trained as a Chat and Email Coach. “I wanted to serve with the BGEA Internet Evangelism team after reading an article in the Billy Graham Decision Magazine,” said Ingram. “The article was about a retired couple traveling across the United States in their new motor home. They were answering questions about God and sharing the gospel with people all over the world through the internet. At the time, my wife and I were caring for her 100-year-old mother with dementia. This caused us to be home bound and didn’t provide many opportunities for us to meet many people to tell them about Jesus. I thought, ‘Wow, this internet evangelism thing is perfect for us. We can share the gospel without even leaving home!’
According to Ingram, “Serving in this volunteer role is important to me because not only do I get to share the gospel globally, but I get the privilege of encouraging and equipping a team of volunteers in South Florida. I also enjoy praying with the volunteers over the phone and praying with visitors who come to the BGEA website.”
“There are many stories of how volunteers have made an impact on the lives of people through BGEA’s online ministry,” said Ingram. “One such story is about a police officer who contacted me when I was a Discipleship Coach. He was dealing with the stress of the job and on the verge of a divorce. I asked him several questions during our internet exchange. I found out he went to church when he was younger, but hasn’t been in years. He knew about God, but didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. We prayed about his situation and continued our online communication. I told him that God loves him and has a great plan for his life. He said he struggled with past regrets and didn’t have any peace. I shared the Good News of Jesus with him and continued to pray for the Holy Spirit to touch his heart. About a week later, he told me he prayed to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Since then, his marriage has been restored and he has a new-found peace about his job. Praise God!”
Ingram said, “I continue to praise God for the wonderful opportunity He provided with this ministry.”
Are you interested in volunteering with this 24/7 global ministry? See how you can get involved. Visit billygraham.org.
Tiffany Jothen, of BGEA, contributed this report. *Name changed to protect privacy