News Articles

Website asks about most important thing that has happened to you

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–Do you avoid church visitation because you might have to give your testimony? Do your knees start buckling when you knock on a door to tell people about Jesus? Do you get rattled when you try to share the most important thing that has ever happened to you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a new website may be just the thing to get you over that hump.

With the simple click of a mouse, you can now share your testimony with people worldwide through www.mostimportantthing.org.

The testimonial-driven website was developed by Jimmy Kinnaird and Shane Spannagel of the evangelism section of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

The idea ignited when Spannagel, evangelism associate on the BGCO church outreach team, and Alan McCoy, BGCO technical specialist, attended a technical conference at Wheaton College near Chicago. There they learned about a Campus Crusade website in Canada called powertochange.com, which contained testimonies of famous Canadians.

“We looked at that and thought, ‘Why should you have to be famous to have your testimony on the Web?'” said Kinnaird, who is interim director of the church outreach team. Kinnaird said he submitted his testimony to the Canadian site, and it did get posted, but it took three months.

“We thought we could do something better than the powertochange site, because it didn’t lead to a gospel presentation, feedback to churches, Christian growth or anything like that,” Kinnaird said.

The new BGCO website, which has been up about a month, allows Web surfers to browse testimonies and leads to the plan of salvation.

Mostimportantthing.org cards are available to be handed out to friends, or people you encounter every day, such as restaurant workers, clerks in stores and gas stations, people in malls, neighbors, coworkers or fellow students.

The card asks the recipient to go to the website to find out the most important thing that has happened to: ___________ (name), and type in the person’s name.

The home page of the website features five different pictures relating to things that are important to people. You can enter the name of the person who gave you the card or go directly to exploring the most important thing. The name of the person will lead to that person’s testimony, while exploring the most important thing will give a list of testimonies available.

After selecting a testimony, you can click on “discover the most important thing that can happen to you.” You are then led to choose from a series of suggestions such as finding that “dream job,” getting married, the birth of children, getting a driver’s license, going on vacation or “other” (write your own).

The next page asks, “What is the most important thing God has done for you?” You may choose from having a good family, having good health, overcoming illness, God seeing you through tragedy, nothing, don’t know or other.

This leads to the question, “What do you think God requires for you to have eternal life?” You are then led to the plan of salvation using the newly developed BGCO “CrossTraining” materials penned by Kinnaird and Spannagel.

Your answer to what God requires is compared with the Bible’s answer. At the end of the presentation, you are asked if you would like to trust Christ alone for salvation and discover the most important thing that could happen to you. You are asked to pray a prayer, which is on the next page.

Following that is a decision form asking for name, address, e-mail address, gender, date of birth, church preference, and whether you trusted Christ, had restoration, want to enroll in Bible study, want to make a public profession of faith, want more information on growing as a Christian and want to notify the person whose testimony led to the decision. For $5, mostimportant.org will post a testimony for two years. The testimony must be short and to the point, and relayed in three sections — before you met Christ, when you met Christ and after you met Christ — with each section having no more than 100 words.

The testimonies are edited by BGCO personnel before being put on the website. “We don’t want the answer to how to trust Christ in the testimonies,” Kinnaird said. “We don’t want to give away the answers before they get into the CrossTraining materials, because we want to make sure they have a genuine salvation experience and aren’t just giving answers they’ve already read.”

A photo of the person giving the testimony is not required but is recommended to people to help with recognition of the person. Another important feature is the link to the testimony writer’s local church. If the church has a website, the browser can go directly there to learn about the church and its ministries.

The website also allows people to order the Web cards, CrossTraining materials and to send e-cards to people telling them to come to the site and check out their testimony. Kinnaird said testimonies can be put on the site in a matter of hours, rather than months, and the Web address can be put on business cards or written on napkins at restaurants.

He emphasized that this is only a tool for witnessing and is not intended to replace verbal witness.

“But it can help people get started,” he said.

In the first month of the website’s operation, there have been two professions of faith, one from a card given to a waitress and one from a card given to a teenager at school.

Kinnaird’s 13-year-old daughter, Jenna, handed out 20 cards at school and got 16 hits on (responses to) her testimony that day, and one young girl accepted Jesus as her Savior. Kinnaird said one of the problems with the website they hope to correct soon is tracking.

“We don’t have the tools to track whose testimony is being used,” he said. “The person whose testimony is used knows who made a decision, but no one else does.”

Every time someone clicks on a person’s testimony, that person receives an e-mail telling them their testimony has been viewed. Kinnaird said his testimony is averaging seven hits a day.

Kinnaird said the site is still a work in progress, and they hope to add several hundred testimonies including some of prominent Oklahomans, and then launch a media strategy. Testimonies can be posted by Christians beyond Oklahoma.

“No one has anything like this, so we want to advertise in several large newspapers in Oklahoma,” Kinnaird said. “We want to get people thinking about the most important thing that has happened to them.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: NEW SITE.

    About the Author

  • Dana Williamson