Walk down any given street in Israel, and you will notice Israelis around you: walking … and staring down at their smartphones; waiting for a bus … and staring down at their smartphones; crossing the street … and staring down at their smartphones. According to statistics compiled by www.internetworldstats.com, 73% of Israelis use the internet.
This is on par with Europe and Australia, and while lower than North America, it is higher than anywhere else in the world.
The popularity of the internet and social media in Israel has made it possible to reach more people than ever before with the gospel, and Eitan Bar is not one to let such an opportunity pass him by. Eitan is the director of the Media and Evangelism Department at One for Israel. He has degrees in biblical studies and theology, and a background in multimedia design and visual communications. Combining his love of both faith and technology has brought him to prominence as a producer and presenter of online apologetic materials in Hebrew and English. The short, punchy, eminently watchable videos are very popular and have been widely shared and viewed on Facebook and YouTube.
What are the advantages of doing internet evangelism?
Hiding behind a computer screen gives people the freedom to share their deepest feelings and to discuss personal struggles, anonymously and without judgment. Many people have contacted us through our various websites and we have been able to develop meaningful relationships with them. We always make an effort to turn online relationships into real, face-to-face relationships.
What sort of follow-up do you do with people who express interest in the faith?
Because my face and (colleague) Moti Vaknin’s are typically how people come to know about Yeshua, they often insist on meeting with us. Later on, we connect them with a local congregation where they live. Most local congregations are familiar with our work and are happy to cooperate with us.
How do you measure your effectiveness?
Very simply: people are coming to know the Lord. We are contacted on a daily basis, some days even on an hourly basis. Most people are from secular or traditional backgrounds and most are under the age of 40.
Can you share a testimony with us?
I actually received this message a few minutes ago from Gil, a former Orthodox Jew:
I have no words to thank you and Moti for the articles and videos. I saw one of your ads on YouTube 1-2 years ago, but turned it off when I realized it was about “Christianity.” Recently, I found another of your videos. It grabbed my attention and I decided to read the prophecies in the Old Testament. I was surprised to discover that they all point to Yeshua.
I was born into an Orthodox Jewish family and was very serious about religion. But I was a nasty and legalistic person because of it. Eventually, I realized there was something fishy about rabbinic Judaism. I ended up leaving religion and God, and became an atheist.
But this summer my life was changed! I found our Messiah, and two days ago, gave him my heart.
Gil is young and “new.” Attacks will soon come both from Satan and from his family and friends. Please take a moment to pray for him!
Internet evangelism is an innovative way of fulfilling the Great Commission, and has proven to be very productive. It’s important to pray for the success of such an endeavor, for those involved in it and for the fruit borne of it.
For more on Eitan’s work, go to www.oneforisrael.org.