We live in a world of instant, visual messages. We want our information delivered in a nice package all wrapped up with a digital bow. Churches across the globe are accommodating the demand, with Websites, apps, and more. The advent of the Internet has given Christian churches a wider net to cast as “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Their mission is the same great commission that Jesus Christ gave His ancient Apostles: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Each Christian denomination heeds the call in its own way. The Internet offers a unique and unobtrusive way for people to research and learn about different churches.

Using the Internet in Missionary Work

"Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."Communication tools are essential in missionary work—spreading the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The printing press revolutionized the way in which information was spread—especially in terms of the written word of God. Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (with the First Presidency, the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—which is sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church) said:

Today we have a modern equivalent of the printing press in the Internet. The Internet allows everyone to be a publisher, to have his or her voice heard, and it is revolutionizing society. … The emergence of new media is facilitating a worldwide conversation on almost every subject, including religion, and nearly everyone can participate. [1]

Many churches—including The Church of Jesus Christ—have used pamphlets and books as well as radio and television broadcasts to share their messages. With their websites, churches can reach anyone, anywhere at any time of the day or night. They offer their teachings and doctrines to honest seekers of truth. The Internet also offers a vast array of chat rooms and other forums in which people can offer their insights and opinions. The Church of Jesus Christ encourages members to join online conversations and share their personal convictions and beliefs. Elder Ballard said:

There are conversations going on about the Church constantly. Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time. [1]

This is true for all denominations. Christians have the opportunity, through their websites and online discourses, to teach others about their views and doctrines. It is also a way for Christianity to unite in their common causes for the greater good.

 What Do The Images Say About Our Beliefs?

A picture is worth a thousand words—especially online. Recently, one blogger analyzed the visual imagery of the top 20 Christian churches, in terms of reported membership. He did not focus on doctrine, but rather “how [they] go about visually communicating their messages.” [2] This analysis of church websites and the images they present offers an interesting perspective on what these churches are saying. As he states, each church has a message to share: the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But of the top 20 churches, only 3 actively used images of the Savior, Jesus Christ. The blogger also wrote:

Most churches don’t visually emphasize church doctrine or principles, but rather emphasize recent news in the church or upcoming conventions, concerts, and speaking series. Most of the churches choose to advertise programs or other websites and they promote their bookstores and other products for purchase. Some churches emphasize healthy living, taking care of the poor, and providing relief during disasters. Some have a really strong emphasis on the leadership of their church, directing readers to church hierarchy and important people. [2]

There is also an interesting correlation between churches with a “.com” website and their “visual emphasis on money-making conventions.” The “.org” websites “tend to be focused more on doctrinal and faith-based issues (but not all).” [2]

The Church of Jesus Christ is listed fourth in terms of membership, but ranks among the highest in visual imagery. He wrote:

Perhaps the most image-rich of all the denominations’ websites, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) has a heavy visual emphasis on daily living according to Jesus Christ’s teachings. Images emphasize service, strong family relationships, praying, friendship, forgiving, marriage, giving humanitarian aid, sharing the gospel, and remembering heritage. It is one of the few websites that displays actual images of Jesus Christ. [2]

Through its images, the Evangelical Lutheran Church—another site with a wealth of pictures—emphasizes global outreach and service to community as well as prayer and Bible study. The Episcopal Church takes an artistic approach to its visual message. “Their images depict events within the church, both historical and contemporary that define what the church is today,” the blogger wrote. [2]

The blogger makes an interesting point: What do the images presented in these websites say about the beliefs of the Christian churches? As we use the tools of the Internet to spread the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, it’s helpful to see how others view us.

About Lisa M.
I am a wife and mother of 4 beautiful children in a small town in the mountains of Idaho. We ski as a family in the winter and camp, fish, and go to the beach in the summer. I’m a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am grateful for the Savior and the blessings of the gospel in my life.

Copyright © 2019 Jesus Christ. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.

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