6Dec

Former atheist starts powerful web evangelism ministry


by Gordon Marcy
Guest Blogger

When God builds a website, expect the unusual. EveryStudent.com is a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ and has become a highly successful web evangelism ministry.

It was started by Marilyn Adamson, a former atheist, stay-at-home Mom and technology outsider.

A perfect candidate for the assignment.

I met Marilyn at the Global Christian Internet Alliance Conference held recently at the Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center, located near Santa Cruz, California.

Our conversation took place on a porch overlooking a panorama of stunning redwoods.

Marilyn, where did the idea for EveryStudent.com come from?

I spent one full year writing an evangelistic article. I worked on it constantly.

At the end I said, ‘OK God, I think you want me to write evangelistically, but we’ve got to find a way to be more productive than one article a year. Two weeks later our campus ministry started some print media campaigns. They asked me to come on and be a writer for them. It was great timing. My youngest daughter had just entered grade school so I had some free time. So I did that for a number of years.

Over time, I developed a number of messages. Later on, the webmaster thought we should throw some of them up on a website to see what would happen. We did and the ministry started out of that. I eventually hired that webmaster and we’ve worked together for fifteen years.

Campus Crusade appears to be adapting it’s evangelism practices to the emerging technologies.

Campus Crusade started in 1951. For 60 years there has been a particular way to go about evangelism. Basically, we shared a Four Spiritual Laws booklet with people and asked for their opinion on it.

Our culture has shifted and that approach is not as acceptable anymore. So our staff and Christian students involved with us are constantly looking for new ways to share the gospel.

The web is an excellent place to experiment with new evangelism techniques. When Christian students find us, they say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great. Why didn’t we know about this site?’ They’re ready to go with it.

How is it going?

When you count all the sites, in all the languages, we’re seeing 250 decisions for Christ a day.

Have you made any personal connections with the students contacting the ministry?

Adamson

Yes, several have become really dear to me. One student wrote and said, ‘I think I need God but I don’t know how to find him.’

I received the email and wrote her back. It turned out she has had two abortions. She was drug and alcohol addicted. And just felt like her life was going in the wrong direction. She had no idea what to do. We dialogued for a while, and eventually she accepted Christ. I never said anything to her about the drugs because I know God changes lives. I’ve seen that so many times. I was just helping her get to know Him better.

She emailed me one day and said, ‘Well, I’m going through the DT’s. Have been sick to my stomach all day. I have the shakes right now. I got into this myself, but I’m not getting out of it alone. God is getting me through it.’ She just went cold turkey off all the drugs. We stayed in touch. She married a Christian and had a baby about six months ago.

I’ve been reading some of the critical articles written about you by atheists and others. Even though you understand their thinking, does the pain of their words sting?

No. Not really. When I was an atheist, I had the same mindset. I thought, ‘Why are these people so foolish as to believe in God?’ I learned that you had to challenge Christians in their thinking in order to get to a point of realizing, you know, I have run out of arguments.

I really don’t mind the attacks. I chuckle at some of them. There have been some zingers, like, “Are you even trying?” or, “I read your article and my eyes were bleeding.”

People go crazy. They can come across as belligerent, but it gets kind of humorous.

When you treat them with respect and love, they show you there is something very genuine going on. God turns them around.

A few moments ago we heard Campus Crusade President Steve Douglass say, “Jesus may ask you to put down your net in an impossible, unreasonable place.” Pioneering an Internet ministry can be an overwhelming task. Have you ever wanted to give up?

I relate to Jeremiah to be honest. Sometimes it can get discouraging. It’s so easy to reach people online yet some people don’t have the vision for it. It’s easy to get discouraged.

God has kept me motivated. I work from home and some people say, ‘You must be so disciplined.’

I’m not disciplined. I’m just motivated. Philemon 6 motivates me. “And I pray that the sharing of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Isn’t that cool?

Yes, it is Marilyn. You’re an inspiration to many. You be encouraged. And may God continue to bless your ministry at EveryStudent.com.

Gordon Marcy is an avid blogger and game changer in the Internet Evangelism arena. On his blog, Christian Media 2.0, he writes about media, church communications and the power of Kingdom collaboration. He is currently working with a team to create a landscape changing Internet television syndication network for the Christian broadcast industry. Follow him on twitter @GordonMarcy.

Related posts:

What moved me from my atheist experience to believing in God ( Marilyn Adamson)

Is there a God?

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  • http://LiveIntentionally.org Paul Steinbrueck

    Gordon, love your interview with Marilyn here. She’s got such a great story to tell as well as stories from those who God has reached through her efforts.  Thanks for giving her the opportunity to share those stories here.

  • Anonymous

    My faith is always strengthened when I see a person say “yes” to God’s invitation to undertake a task she never dreamed of doing. Thank you for sharing Marilyn’s story with the stickyJesus family. 

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    Thank you @GordonMarcy:disqus . We must open our eyets to the power that exists and how we can use social media to advance the Kingdom. There is urgency in the hour! Thanks for highlighting the real possibilities and showcasing Marilyn’s story to make it real. Bless you Gordon!

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    Thanks for stopping by Paul. Always good to see you here. You are a great encourager and we look forward to having you share some stories, too!

  • Jeffrey Robinson

    I just read “Does God Exist?”

    If you were a former atheist, you were a rather uneducated one, as you seem to still be… not educated, that is.

    Just to point out one simple thing, that reflects on the rest, is that water is not odorless and tasteless. One doesn’t even have to read a book to know that – or even think. Just observe.

    If you can’t observe such basic things about reality, your opinion about metaphysical things becomes quite questionable, at best.