FAIRBANKS, AK—Churches have long been looking for innovative new ways to reach their communities for Christ, but one church is three steps ahead of the curve.
Vanguard Baptist Church in Fairbanks is now attempting to draw new visitors by giving away CDs containing hundreds of hours of AOL internet access, totally for free.
“Anyone who comes to this Sunday’s service will be given a CD-ROM with anywhere between 300 and 1200 hours of internet access for a month,” lead pastor Gabe Mendel said. “The church needs to change with the culture. Too many churches are stuck in the past. For us, that means giving away free access to the world wide web. It’s where the culture is moving, so it’s where the church has to move.”
The church also set up its own AOL keyword, and deploys missionaries across AIM with screen names like SoulWinner1689 and CoolJesusGuy316 to engage AOL chat rooms across the nation and around the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Vanguard has been stockpiling the CDs since the 1990s, and is finally ready to give back to the community with its big autumn push for new visitors. “We got about fifteen mailed to us every day back in the late ’90s, and generous church members started dropping them in the offering plate. So we just kept on saving them until such a time as this.”