Internet Evangelism … in Turkey?

Hagia Sofia
Hagia Sophia, dedicated as a Christian church in 360, converted to a Mosque in 1453, secularized in 1931

Last week, I had the privilege of spending a few days in Istanbul, Turkey talking to pastors about technology, faith, and evangelism. There were only about 70 people in attendance, but since Turkey around 4,000 believers those men and women represented an fairly sizable portion of the country’s Christian leadership.

The Exception to the Rule

In discussions about technology and faith, we often address the legitimate worry that when people spend too much time online they risk becoming too anonymous and too disconnected from “real life.” We’ve all known people addicted to technology who have trouble unplugging and connecting in person. But in Turkey this anonymity allows Muslims who are curious about Jesus and Christianity to explore it safely.

Unlike countries like Iran, it’s legal in Turkey to be a Christian, to have a church, and to preach the gospel on the street. However, it is still socially dangerous to hang around a church or carry a Bible, so websites, facebook, and chat rooms provide a safe space for Turks to find out more about Jesus.

From Technology to the Table

The men and women I met at the Turkey Internet Evangelism Network (TIEN) use every conceivable technological means to connect with their Turkish neighbors and help them find out more about Jesus. Some have large Facebook followings, some work in the bowels of IRC and other chat rooms, some have YouTube channels full of testimonies, some buy ads on Google directing people to evangelistic websites, others have followup “courses” for people they met on the street.

The amazing thing is that they are all working to draw Turks along a path from an anonymous seeker to a faithful follower of Christ connected to a local church body. On the final day of the conference, we met some people who had come to faith in a chat room and then asked, “What’s next?” They were immediately connected to a local church which happened to be the one hosting the conference.

I loved seeing how these Turkish Christian leaders were intentionally using technology not just for conversion, but for the table (i.e. Christian community). The missionaries, programmers, and pastors all seemed to work together amazingly well, drawing Turks deeper into the body of Christ. They are a powerful example of God using any an all means to draw people to himself.

More about Internet Evangelism

If you’d like to know more about Internet Evangelism and how you can be involved, you could check out the twitter feed from the event (#TIEN2012) or take a look at some of the English websites like and which help coordinate

Published by

John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary, and at night I write Bible software for countries whose leaders could be called "overlords." This one time, I wrote a book about technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at

31 thoughts on “Internet Evangelism … in Turkey?”

  1. John,

    Is this an example of God’s presence within our digital cathedrals?

    “We have created this expanding computational universe, and it’s open to the evolution of all kinds of things. It’s cycling faster and faster, and it’s way, way, way more than doubling in scale every year. Even with the help of Google and YouTube and Facebook, we can’t consume it all. And we aren’t really aware what this vast space is filling up with. From the human perspective, computers are idle 99 percent of the time, just waiting for the next instruction. While they’re waiting for us to come up with instructions, more and more computation is happening without us, as computers write instructions for each other. And as Turing showed mathematically, this space can’t be supervised. As the digital universe expands, so does this wild, undomesticated side…. In Turing’s 1950 paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” he argued that when we build intelligent machines, we will not be creating souls but building the mansions for the souls that God creates. When I first visited Google, right about the time it went public, I walked around and saw what they were doing and realized they were building a very large distributed AI, much as Turing had predicted. And I thought, my God, this is not Turing’s mansion—this is Turing’s cathedral. Cathedrals were built over hundreds of years by thousands of nameless people, each one carving a little corner somewhere or adding one little stone. That’s how I feel about the whole computational universe. Everybody is putting these small stones in place, incrementally creating this cathedral that no one could even imagine doing on their own.”- George Dyson

      1. Hi John I will be going on ourtreach to turkey in october and i wonder if you have any tools, bible, tracks or ideas willing to give me for reaching the people

  2. That’s awesome that you got to witness that and thank you for sharing. I’m really eager to see more of how the technology can be used to share the gospel and make disciples. This shows how it is being used over there, fantastic.

    Keep up the great work John.

  3. John, You were magnificent as our speaker at TIEN. Your comments here are a beautiful testimony to the creativity, imagination, and hard work Turkish Internet evangelism practitioners are doing as we speak.

  4. Thank U for this very interesting article. This shows how it is possible to use the SNS (Social Networking Service) and the Internet to make an impact for Christ!

    I have shared my Facebook page – in particular an online questionnaire I am doing for my thesis which deals with this topic: “Efficiency and Effectiveness of using SNS (Social Network Services) to make disciples for Jesus Christ”.

    Please take a minute to complete the survey! And please pass it along!

    Jesus is Lord! We do not have to be fearful of the tool of SNS and the Internet! Like any other tool or instrument, we just have to be wise in the way we use this.

    1. Let’s use follow the passion of the Lord Jesus expressed through the wise counsel of the Apostle Paul: “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (I Corinthians 9:22, NKJV)

      I Corinthians 9:22 – I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (NKJV)

      Best link to take my thesis online questionnaire, this is the better anonymous survey link:

      Anonymous Survey Link:

  5. It is exciting to see how Christians can intentionally use Social Networking Services (SNS) to introduce the Gospel to anonymous seekers so they can trust in Christ as Savior and Lord!

    Then to use that to connect them to a local Christian fellowship is very exciting! We can learn a great deal from the example of our Turkish brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus!

  6. Below are two website links which contain some excellent examples I have discovered of how other many Christians in the Middle East of how they are in a very intentional and wise and bold strategy to reach Muslim neighbors for Christ!


    Title: Christians to Utilize Prayers, TV to Reach Muslims During Ramadan

    Summary of article: Excellent to show how satellite dish TV is reaching and evangelizing Muslims countries closed and hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Comment: Through use of Satellite Dish TV, Muslims in closed countries are being exposed to the Good News that Jesus is Savior and Lord, and that He died for their sins so they can be forgiven.


    from: Global Opportunities for Christ.

    Title: History of Missions. Modern Mission Movement? Yesterday and Today

    Summary: Excellent documentation to show intentional and wise strategy to use Satellite dish TV coupled with follow up with the Internet used by Christians in Middle East to reach Muslim neighbors for Christ.

    Comment: The online history of Christian missions further demonstrates the very intentional and wise strategy being used by Christians in Muslim countries to couple Satellite Dish TV evangelism followed up with the Internet and chat rooms to reach Muslims for Christ.
    Let me hear your opinion on the benefit of using Social Networking Services (SNS) Multimedia, Internet and Satellite Services!

    If you still want to take the online questionnaire, this is the better anonymous survey link:

    Anonymous Survey Link:

  7. I am Turkish and Christian. Since I follow Christ, I desire to serve him. I left my country and I have been thinking how I could still serve my land? Than I started to write in agnostic/ ateist… Turkish web sites, where your comments or shares can viewed by over 1000! And there are around hundred of Muslim except non-Muslims. Their purpose is mission as well! It is hard to believe how they don’t know anything, despite they are literate! Muslims and others believe Christianity and Bible is corrupted so they don’t even give a chance to read Bible. So I am trying to make them think about their believes and prejudices!
    Thanks for this article!

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