Over 12 Million online decisions for Christ.
Over 97 million visitors to their website.
Eric Célérier was a 22-year-old new Christian, looking for work. Sure, he had three years of French cooking school under his belt, but he felt God was calling him to do something else. Someone from his church asked him if he would be interested working for the 1986 Billy Graham Crusade coming to Paris. “I said I don’t know who Billy Graham is,” Célérier said. “But I’m looking for a job.”
He still remembers the September 1986 Crusade at Paris’ Bercy Stadium. The view of Billy Graham preaching and thousands flooding the stage to give their life to Jesus. “It really impacted my life. When I saw all the people come to receive Christ, I said a prayer. I told God I want to be an evangelist. I want to win people to Christ like this man.”
More than a quarter of a century later, Célérier is at The Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Here more than 100 people from over 20 countries involved in Jesus.net, the internet evangelism movement he founded, have gathered for a five-day conference with one unified purpose: using the internet to reach people for Jesus. “I praise God every day,” the modest Frenchman said. “It’s really a movement of God.”
Tracing the steps of exactly when the online evangelism movement began is a little like figuring out who really invented the internet. Célérier recalls 1997 as the first time he started building tools for online evangelism, and 2001 when the first evangelistic website went live. But April 2005 was when the Knowing God website – the model that BGEA is using for PeaceWithGod.net – went live.
In the 7 1/2 years since launching in France, Célérier has seen more than 36.8 million people click on one of the Jesus.net websites that deliver a gospel presentation through video format. More than 12 million people have indicated they prayed to receive Christ and roughly 25 percent of those have filled out a personal information form, which has been used to send discipleship material as well as help new believers get plugged into a local church. “Recording decisions is just one step. It’s a measurement, not a goal,” he said. “The goal is that they would grow in their faith and get involved in a church.”
A network of 330 churches has signed on to help new Christians grow in their faith. Célérier’s team in France has worked hard to make sure new followers of Christ are given proper follow-up with discipleship information and connected with a local church in their area. “We try to move people along their spiritual journey, just like they would do at a Crusade,” Célérier said. “For them to connect to a local church is extremely important.”
The Jesus.net movement, which began in August of 2009, is quickly spreading around the globe. Many other countries are getting involved under the Jesus.net umbrella. You might want to check out the fascinating Google Earth map with real-time decisions for Christ in 3D. Every minute three people come to Christ.
Source: Eric Célérier, Trevor Freeze
Joel News International # 843 | 18/12/2012 (updated)