The Life Project in Canada uses more than 1,000 online mentors to help people who are hurting or searching for more in life to find a real friend and hope in Christ. “People have issues with health, family, and especially relationships,” says Sheldon Kotyk, director of The Life Project.
“They are looking for people to listen to their hurts and respond in love and eventually prayer…We have live online chat rooms which connect people with questions to trained chat leaders and mentors; there were 120,000 visits last year! Here, people gather in community, either guided through a moderated study or just chatting openly about their days.
Things often turn into spiritual conversations and as visitors watch what is going on, they often engage with questions, depending on where they are spiritually,” says Sheldon. “We’ve had groups of people get saved as one person is led through the gospel and others chime in that they prayed the prayer as well.”
A chat leader shared this rewarding experience:
“One of the greatest joys so far is the salvation of an expectant teenager who came into an online chat room on issuesiface.com in January, fearful that she’d be pushed into an abortion. That first evening, she accepted Christ as her Savior. The next day her boyfriend came to the chat room and made the decision to follow Christ as well.
“Soon, she reported that she’d been to a pregnancy resource center, where she’d joined a Bible study and was getting help. The last I heard, they had gotten married and had found out that she’s expecting twins.”
The Life Project recently published a first-hand account of one woman’s struggle with an unplanned pregnancy and spent just $23 on Facebook advertising to get the story seen. More than 40 women requested a mentor in just 10 days!
This kind of real-life story has been at the heart of The Life Project since its beginning in 1995. Sheldon believes this online forum is unique.
“People become very open and transparent when they don’t see a face across the table from them. We call this ‘anonymous intimacy,’” he says. And it’s clearly effective.
Crucial to this effectiveness are the email mentors and chat leaders. To become an online missionary is pretty simple:
- Complete a short application with spiritual references and a background check
- Watch eight modules of 10-15 minutes of training
- Continue to grow and learn on the job
Sheldon and The Life Project have huge dreams for the use of these mentors; their vision is to see 5,000 mentors leading 1 million people closer to Jesus by the end of 2020. To do so, they want to reach into other countries and languages and have already begun to work with ministries in India, Indonesia, Central America, South America, and Central Asia.
A partnership with local churches called Digital Doorway matches individuals with a mentor in a church community nearby. Finally, The Life Project has just released new short animated videos focusing on life’s hard questions produced in the internet’s top 10 languages, which are designed to start conversations with trained mentors.
If you would like to get involved with this online mentorship initiative you can apply to be a mentor at tmm.io. You can also use online mentoring with your outreach strategies.
First published on www.indigitous.org
Written by Judy Lewis.