Anyone who’s read any of Vincent Flanders‘ books (and all of you faithful readers should have read ‘Son of‘ by now) or have frequented his site Web Pages That Suck should know that Father Flanders sometimes ‘Fisks’ over the bad use of a good branding opportunity with something to the effect … and please note, this is not a quote but merely a catchy summation on my part … ‘A domain name is a terrible thing to waste.’
To wit, I want you to close your eyes — wait — not yet, let me finish this sentence and then close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine the site might expect for a domain name like “onlineministries.com.” … … … Oh good, I see your back. Have you visited the site yet? Go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back … … …
Now while have no complaint about the message of salvation forwarded at onlineministries.com, I do think it could be delivered a bit better. I mean think about it, here you have the greatest message on Earth, yet in its current format, the site has about as much affect on a seeker as a Chick Track might have on a Catholic. And while some of you may be thinking ‘the Word of God don’t need no fancy packaging – you NYC, Madison Avenue Hillary Clinton loving sissy-boy,’ I would respond, how many of you carry leather bound Bibles? And given a choice, and if money were no object, how many of you would give a seeker or a convert a 3 hole-punch note-book of photocopies from your 1979 “I Found It” Bible versus a nice new thinline edition which includes book introductions, full color maps, and free CD-ROM?
In other words, considering the potential for a domain name such as Online Ministries, why not just offer redirect it at a site that not only offers the same message, but also provides the full scope of ministry required not only to bring a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, but to fulfil the great commission in making them disciples, such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association? Or why not become an Open Directory Project based portal that offers links to bonafide online ministries?
I’m not saying get rid of the message offered at onlineministries.com, though I’d strongly recommend a more outlined, left aligned format as opposed to everything all centered – that and I’d provide hyperlinks of scriptures to online Bibles so seekers could read the verses in their context.
What I am saying is that I think, from a Biblical point of view, that it is a disservice to any seeker to tell them their next step is to “Pray, read your Bible, and find a good Bible believing Church … Be obedient to God!” and then merely throw them into the deep end of the pool by offering them a link to an impersonal email address, a dated online Bible resource and a generic “Christian” directory, the later two without any guidance or instruction. Honestly, to me, this is as attentive to the needs of a seeker as is the churchy individual who encounters a brother or sister who is without clothes and daily food and merely responds by saying “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs … I mean .. what good is that?