Web missionary with Groundwire UK
Matt Rich lives in Cumbria, UK, and leads Groundwire UK. He encourages and trains part-time volunteers to use the Web for evangelism, with a particular emphasis on being available as a spiritual coach for Groundwire. Groundwire offers people the opportunity to chat with a Christian online 24/7.
I first became involved in using the Internet for evangelism whilst working as a missionary to teenagers. The Internet gave me a way to be able to be in contact with the young people when they were alone and weren’t feeling under pressure from their friends. One day when I was praying about whether to continue with this work I became aware that the Lord was giving me a new missionary vision – to reach out to people using the Internet. In the year 2000 The Internet Mission was launched and I have been working as an Internet Missionary since then.
As a mission our aim is to use all aspects of the Internet for evangelism and to encourage others to do the same. It is our desire that through this work many people around the world would hear the gospel and be added to God’s Kingdom.
Our main missionary work is focussed on Groundwire.org.uk – a new mission offering anyone the opportunity to chat (by typing) online with a Christian Spiritual Coach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We do not provide a professional counseling service but we do seek to show people the hope that comes from knowing Jesus. We find that many are happy to share their worries, doubts, fears and questions in this none threatening anonymous environment and we are able to introduce them to Jesus, helping them to understand more about Him, and encouraging them to go to a church. At Groundwire we have found that people will be more real online than they are in the real world.
In this work we regularly see people believe in Jesus for the first time and others return to faith after years of walking away from Him. We have seen unbelievers starting to go to church and committed Christians begin the process of getting free from secret sins they have carried alone for many years.
People have questions, and when we provide somewhere they feel comfortable to ask them, where they feel cared for and loved, our experience shows that they will come and open their lives to us in ways often unimaginable in “normal” life.
Groundwire is the only service of it’s kind in the UK. We are looking to work with churches and organisations to enable them to offer ̶chat now” from their website or on literature they give to those they are seeking to reach out to. We want everyone to know there is someone who cares, who they can chat with online - someone who can help them find peace with God and peace in the storms of life. We are also looking for more volunteer coaches to share hope with those who need our help. The direct link to the section of our website for those that want to find out more about being involved is – Groundwire.org.uk/Christian and web address for those that need to chat is Groundwire.org.uk.
The internet has now become the natural place where people go looking for answers. Jesus has provided us with this new tool for evangelism and we need to make use of it by being available online - not just with information, but as a real people having real conversations – bringing hope online.