The First International Church Of The Web

Church Newsletter For January 1, 1998

Greetings and Happy New Year from one who loves you!

As we enter the new year I felt it may be a good time to look back and see what has happened in our church in 1997. As you may know, our church was founded on February 8, 1997. In that time, the web site has undergone many changes. When it first started, it was little more than one long page of text. This was soon broken up into several pages, with links placed on the front page. Graphics were gradually added to the site, but they were few in number because for a long time I was on WebTV (an internet access appliance with limited capabilities, but very good for what it is). In September the church was able to upgrade to a computer thanks to the generosity of the membership, and the site has really changed a lot since then. More graphics, a brighter, more cheerful design, and greater interactivity are a result of the greater capability gained by this upgrade.

Some of you earlier members may remember when we didn't even have a chat room to call our own. For several months we would create a private room at WBS for our fellowship sessions. In June I was contacted by Global Christian Network, who offered to create and maintain a chat room for our church. This represented a big improvement in the interactive nature of our church.

For a long time I searched for a bulletin board for our church so the members could engage in threaded conversations free of the time restraints of our chat sessions. The first effort was awkward and difficult to use, but we soon upgraded to another bulletin board which proved to be quite popular to the members. The server for this one eventually went down, and was replaced with the bulletin board we now have.

Membership has grown rather steadily. Our church had its first member within only a day or so of first appearing on the web. Since that time we have grown to 189 members, with members in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Kuwait, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. While the greatest number of members are in the United States, Canada and Australia seem locked in a competition for the second highest number of members. Our church has indeed been international from the very beginning. Our membership also represents a great diversity of backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common, we all proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord! Amen!

So you can see, our church has come a long way in only 10 months. But there is still much to be done. There's a great big world out there that needs to hear the Good News. Our church shall remain dedicated to spreading the Gospel to every corner of the globe via the internet. I'm very pleased that we have a highly evangelistic membership, and I encourage each member with internet friends in other countries to invite them to our church. And don't forget, our Webstuff page has many graphics available for members to use on their own websites. These graphics were created by members of our church who freely donated them for the membership's use, so please feel free to take advantage of them.

I anticipate the coming year will be a time of tremendous growth for our church. I honestly believe we can reach 1,000 members by the end of 1998. Remember, while man may have created the internet, it still remains Our Lord's internet - let us all renew our committment to making the internet the single greatest evangelical tool ever! While on this subject, let me just reiterate the validity of the internet as an evangelical tool and a basis for church building. Remember, the bible tells us that a church isn't a building, but rather a body of believers. Whether that body meets for fellowship and worship in a church building, a school gymnasium, someone's living room, a shady spot down by the river, or on the internet is of no importance. What matters is that we love Our Lord and each other!

Even so, every time I tell someone that I pastor a church on the internet, the reaction is usually one of skepticism. But let us remember, that someone had to have the idea and vision to use the radio for church services. This person was no doubt considered "out there" by many at first. But radio rapidly came to prove its worth in evangelism. When television first came along, someone had to be the first to use it for evangelism, and look how far that has come. Indeed, way back when Gutenburg first used his printing press to print the first mass produced bibles, many people were skeptical and even alarmed. "How dare he use a machine to print the Word of God?" was a common reaction. And yet, this was the first step to common knowledge and understanding of the bible. Where would Christianity be now without bibles being mass produced and distributed throughout the world?

So be not ashamed of your participation in our church, and don't be hesitant to create other churches on the internet. Oh, glory!, we are on the very cutting edge of evangelism!! Praise God! What a wonderful time to be alive and involved in His work!

Well, dear friends, brothers and sisters, that will do it for this edition of our newsletter. Remember, you remain in my prayers at all times. God bless You!

Yours in Christ,
Brother Dave

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