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Internet Usage and Faith
 
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Click and Ye Shall Find

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More people have gotten religious or spiritual information online than gambled online, traded stocks online, used web-based auction sites or used online dating services. As of December 2001, 25%* of all internet users had sought religious or spiritual information online at one point or another. What are the two main activities of "Religion Surfers"? Sixty-seven percent of them look for information about their own faith and 50% of them look for information about another faith. Tied in third place at 38% is emailing a prayer request and downloading religious music. Looking for a soul mate is the least favored activity among Religion Surfers—only 3% of them think they'll find their mate in Cyber Space.
 
 
* In December, 2001 U.S. Internet growth had swelled to 58 percent of the population. This percentage is up from 39% in July of 1999 and from only 22 percent in 1998!
 
 
Fast Fact - The September 11 terror attacks compelled millions of Internet users to turn to religious issues online. Forty-one percent of Internet users, many of whom had never considered themselves spiritual seekers, said they sent or received email prayer requests. -JK
 
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Growth of U.S. Internet Usage and Activity by Type 2001
Sources: Nielsen Net Ratings; Pew Internet & American Life: CyberFaith: How Americans Pursue
Online Religion
; Pew Internet & American Life: Wired Churches, Wired Temples

U.S. INTERNET ACCESS GROWTH
SELECTED ONLINE ACTIVITY
as of December 2001
TYPE OF USAGE PERCENT
ALL USERS
Research a Product 75%
Get News 66%
Seek Religious/Spiritual Info 25%
Participate in Auctions 15%
Use Dating Services 9%
Conduct Gambling 5%
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST
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l Ministry Ideas l
     
 
What kind of Cyber presence does your church have? Consider having a Cyber outreach ministry that combines answers to life's difficult questions with a place to post requests and receive prayer.
 
 
l Something to consider: Right after 9/11, were Internet user's deeper questions on the meaning of life answered? Not according to Pew Internet & American Life, which in the Summary of Findings from their latest report dated Sept. 5, 2002, concluded this: "Questions that, for many, had been mere theological discussions, such as why does God permit evil, became pained cries. Such questions were not addressed substantively by the denominations on their Web sites."
Click here to see an archive of post 9/11 web pages
If a person seeking answers to the meaning of life keys in the phrase "life after death" who or what will they find? What about the word "prayer"? Will they find you, or the First Church of Wicca? (It's surprising how few Christian church websites are linked via relevant keyword searches! Make sure you know where your Web site comes up via the different search engines and have your webmaster work the problem).
Gen-Xers and younger tend to submit prayer requests more often than adults. Knowing this, think of how you can make your Web site more appealing to that demographic. Read this article for more insight and links to Gen-X church websites:
http://www.next-wave.org/dec99/new_wave_of_gen_x_churches.htm
 
     
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