Commonly asked questions
1. Doesn’t your vision exceed your ability?
Response: Yes, in every way imaginable.
2. Your comment about Navy chaplains as a rationale for starting USChurchInfoTM is pretty compelling. Can you elaborate on that relationship?
Response: We worked several years as associate staff with a worldwide missions/discipleship focused organization in the US. I often met with chaplains at the nearby nuclear submarine base and because of my ministry contacts I would regularly get a call telling me a sailor was shipping out to, moving to or leaving for a particular city and did I know of a good Bible believing church I could suggest.
I was always slightly befuddled by this as there was no way to quickly locate this information except through operators or phone books (remember those?) to find out such information; in other words, pretty much the same resources they had. I would gladly call our national headquarters to see if they knew of any and they usually didn’t know what to suggest either unless we had a staff person in the area. However, the internet was still very much in its infancy and partly out of frustration with not being able to help our sailors and marines and others in the military it just made no sense to me that finding a church was such a huge hassle.
I should say here that NO denominations had church directory websites either. In fact, when we decided to build USChurchInfo.com I approached them for a listing of their churches and they had never heard of such an idea, they were only too happy to send me their list if they had one, usually in an Excel spreadsheet and added how grateful they were that somebody was actually going to do this. This was true of every denomination we contacted. And, those who didn’t have a computerized list available sent me or sold me their printed church directory. For major and minor denominations to store their data like this all seems so unfamiliar now and quaint but that was all there was at the time…until USChurchInfo was built!
Is your Church website a resource for the Holy Spirit to use to fulfill The Great Commission? Could He lead a lost soul to a fellowship of the Body of Christ knowing they’ll come face to face with their need for the Savior and His promises of Eternal Life?
Independent churches, of which there are tens of thousands in the directory, were especially challenging since there is no central repository like most denominations. Each one had to be found, typed manually, checked and rechecked for accuracy, etc.
But, now, we were on a mission! Many, many Saturdays were spent in the Boston Public library (we live in southeast CT) printing microfiche Yellow Page church information then converting it digitally with OCR technology. Occasionally we found very talented data entry people to help. We did some entry ourselves and purchased records as we could afford them (they were very expensive at the time), we sat night and day gleaning the Yellow Pages and White Pages from all over the country as we could find/buy them and putting them into the database. We even scrounged recycle trash bins of telephone companies when new phone books were being issued.
Eventually, many tens of thousands of church records had been put into a database and uploaded to the website now known as USChurchInfo.com and that was the birth of the largest online church directory in the world with nearly 150,000 Protestant church listings. Once completed we realized what an incredible tool this was for US Churches and those seeking a Church to visit or call their Church home. We eventually expanded the availability to the whole internet.
3. If you think this service is so valuable why don’t you charge more?
Response: The intent is to make this ministry opportunity available to as many small, medium and large churches as possible (and pay the bills). Our hope is this resource is viewed as so valuable that every church who shares a heart for the Lost will invest (for less than 5 cents a day). We even offer a FREE version of Road Swaps for those churches who want to offer the Gospel to the Lost but who aren’t concerned with receiving responses from new Believers.
4. You imply a couple of places that the world wide web is more ubiquitous than any other form of communication available to the church since Christ. How can you say that considering the impact the printed page has had on the ministry?
Response: We have no desire, nor ability, to minimize the impact of the printed word. To the credit of millions of faithful saints through the centuries, it took years, sometimes hundreds of years to get a printed version of the Gospel, much less the whole Bible, to many people because of travel, language, expenses and customs…and many are still waiting. However, as you have seen demonstrated here (see Setup Video) in less than five minutes a church can have an entire online evangelism ministry that is accessible around the world in seconds and is available 24/7/365. We can’t help but think Gutenberg would be impressed with what we are attempting and he, himself, be on the cutting edge of web technology if he were around. Perhaps today we would be saying “I gutenberged that”.
5. Where does Road Swap and Road Swap Gospel TemplateTM names come from?
Response: The basis of the Gospel we use is the well known “Romans Road” Gospel presentation based on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Having shared this many time over the years we felt it offered the most clarity and succinct information in a short, understandable flow. And, with great images it is proving to be a compelling presentation to a generation that relies on images more than ever to communicate ideas and principles. The idea of “swaps” come from the fact that several times a year we “swap” the header image to reflect the seasons, holidays and special observations. You can see an image of a few of past and present Templates on the Vision page.
6. Do you offer any Bible version other than King James?
Response: Currently we offer the option of NKJV and NIV in English. When Registering please choose your preference.
7. How many times on our website are we allowed to post “text widgets”, “icon widgets” and “tower widgets”?
Response: We encourage every ministry to copy/paste any or all of your customized widgets to as many pages as makes sense. It sort of comes down to how many opportunities do you want to provide the Spirit to minister to those who “serendipitously” find the Gospel on your site. Sharing your “widgets” with other ministries except those tied directly to your Church is not allowed.
8. How will I know if someone makes a decision to put their faith in Christ but they don’t complete the Online Decision Card?
Response: Regrettably, you won’t; not unless they show up at your Church door next Sunday morning. Which is yet another reason why you and your church should be praying for those who visit your Road Swaps page. Some will read it and turn away; others will read it, put their faith in Christ and fail, for one reason or anther, to complete the Online Decision Card. Others, we hope, will read, believe and complete the ODC. So, as you can see, all three types of people need your prayers and intersession. You may never know this side of heaven who the second type of person is until we stand rejoicing before Him someday. But, imagine the joy you will share together and with all you ministered to through Road Swaps.
9. What if some prankster fills out the ODC with “inappropriate” data or comments?
Response: The answer is not “if” but “when”! There are simply those in this world who will show no respect to you, your church and/or your faith. But, as a reminder; 1. we live in a fallen world, 2. some from that world will visit your site and revile you, who you are and what you do and 3. this is yet one more motivating factor for you and those in your church to pray for them and all those who visit your Road Swaps page in their fallen state and mock and revile you. (see I Peter 2:23). For this and other reasons we suggest ODC responses be directed toward spiritually mature Believers in your fellowship.
10. Why don’t you allow Churches with their own Gospel pages on their sites to become members of The aXiom NetworkTM?
Response: There was considerable discussion about this and it was decided to limit members to those who use our Road Swaps. It’s not because we don’t welcome any and all who follow Matthew 28:18-20 in loving obedience to spread Christ’s offer of Salvation. It’s simply that with Road Swaps we can control the quality and content of the presentations. We go to considerable effort to align materials with our own standards and vision in tandem with our Members for effective online evangelism and we have no control over if, when or how others maintain their site pages. So, while we do limit membership as stated we also encourage all Churches to Register for Road Swaps or put their own Gospel page on their site.
“We believe it would be a lost opportunity of cataclysmic proportions if thousands of Churches fail to incorporate into their online ministry the very reason they exist, namely, to make disciples; starting with offering eternal life to the growing numbers of Online Seekers.”
11. What have been the biggest obstacles to recruiting Churches to put the Gospel on their websites?
Response:. There are several reasons why online evangelism shouldn’t work but we believe we’ve solved most of the issues. First, of course, is the expense of paying someone to create a separate page, and Decision Form, that for many Churches is prohibitive. We’ve made it very cost effective (less than 5¢ a day!), easy, fast (instantaneous upon completed Registration), a powerful Gospel presentation, encouraging communication to key individuals who share the responsibility for evangelism in the local fellowship, tools and supplies and even a means by which one Church can immediately find another Church at USChurchInfo.com that shares your vision for the Lost.
What we cannot solve is the lack of urgency and vision by some Churches who either don’t feel they can share the Gospel for whatever reasons or they’re sure their Church is doing all it can or should. If the modern U.S. Church is doing all it knows how to do and is satisfied with their success then based on the small number of conversions we hear about it would appear the Holy Spirit isn’t doing much these days. Me genoita!
12. What do you mean that The aXiom NetworkTM supports the ministry of the “local church”? You’re an internet based resource.
Response: When an individual visits your Road SwapsTM page and receives Christ as Savior their Decision is directed back to you so your Church can provide the necessary follow-up including Biblical Assurances and fellowship to confirm and strengthen their new life in Christ.
Our desire is to act as a conduit between individuals and your Church. With Road Swaps we provide the technology you need to develop and maintain your Online Evangelism ministry.
Road Swaps Gospel TemplatesTM are also valuable for those in your fellowship to share with friends and family any time. If you use overhead projectors in your services it’s very easy to project the Romans Road onto the screen and teach through the Gospel (as our home church has) once a quarter or so, train your congregation during your Worship, teach them how to use it in adult Sunday School/Small Groups, teens groups and encourage individuals with their smart phones, ipads and pcs to share with others. We provide other suggestions to enhance their use during your subscription period.
13. Shouldn’t we be focusing on building relationships rather than simply exposing strangers to the Gospel?
We don’t believe the American Church can or should choose one over the other! We continually come back to the questions that force us to answer what is our purpose and goal; eg, “Where else would someone seeking God look than to a Church? And, how much harder will it be if that Church isn’t providing the message of Hope for Eternal Life? And, how else will this and future generations look for a Church than online?”
They may visit your website but NEVER visit your Church. Why not offer salvation in every possible venue the Church has at her disposal and leave the results to God? Many Churches will dedicate and sacrifice hundreds, even thousands of dollars and hours to VBS, vans, musical programs, etc. but fail to give them the Truth the need most. The choice is simple; namely, is it better to make the Gospel available online where the Spirit can use it to help those seeking spiritual help…or not?
We believe that, despite good efforts by parachurch groups with a small handful of Gospel pages available among them, the assembled Church has a fundamental and numerical role to play in this technological revolution. The sheer number of Churches who want and need to grow make it “axiomatic” to us. We also believe that, until now, there has been no viable online option for the local Church to have an evangelistic impact and especially knowing they’re Networked with 100,000 kindred Churches.
We strongly believe it would be a lost opportunity, frowned upon by heaven itself, if the resources of and universal access to, thousands of U.S. Churches, who claim the Gospel as they’re “raison d’etre”, failed to incorporate into their online ministry the very reason they exist, namely, to make disciples; starting with offering eternal life to the growing numbers of online Seekers.
Send us your Questions & Comments at Contact Us.