I was chatting with Pastor Chris Kovacs of West Highland Baptist Church, Hamilton, Ontario about a novel way to help fund the advancement of the Gospel worldwide.
I thought it deserved a broader promotion and so I asked Chris to share this opportunity with you:
“As pastor of outreach at West Highland Baptist in Hamilton I am always looking for ways to further the outreach in our city as well as to strengthen our mission’s impact around the world. Our city is becoming more religiously and ethnically diverse while at the same time becoming more secular. The world’s population is growing faster than our mission’s budget. Our goal to go to ‘all nations’ seems to be pulling away from us. Are there any resources that can help?
Last year a ministry colleague approached me with a unique opportunity to increase our impact both at home as well as abroad. On behalf of our church he applied to Google for their AdWords Grant program –which any CRA registered church is eligible for. The grant is substantial and gives free online Google advertising to one website. To ensure maximum use he developed a website for our local outreach initiatives which also had a Polish language gospel component. The Polish language portion was to support our mission work in Poland. It contains articles to help seekers understand the Gospel and answer some basic questions they might have. You can think of it like a web-based online Alpha program. With the Ad Grants program our church is able to advertise across our city any outreach event we put on as well as our regular Sunday Services. We have used these ads to promote our summer VBS, music camps, sports camps, Christmas concerts, Father’s Day car shows, Alpha programs, Easter plays. In slightly over a year we have passed out over 1,200 e-invitations to our programs in Hamilton. Since this is in the Google Ad Grant program it did not cost us anything and supplemented our regular advertising.
As good as that is, it is in the Polish component that we are seeing benefits — national in scope. Having run the Polish ads in Poland for almost five months we have spent over $50,000 (in free money) to pass out 60,000 web articles across the Polish-speaking world explaining the Gospel and answering questions. Because of Ontario’s diversity some of those were passed out in the Greater Toronto Area, but the majority of articles were read in Poland. Our next step is to see if we can develop a network of pastors across Poland who can follow up with people who write in on the site. This has the potential to not only bolster the local ministry of the missionaries we support in Poland (Fellowship International missionaries Ben and Krista Taylor) but can create a movement across the country.
Google supports over 100 languages and they developed the grant program so that charities can “share their story with audiences all over the globe”. If we as a Fellowship coordinate our efforts we could share the Gospel story in these languages and the nations they represent, increase our impact in our communities all while using a grant program that is a free service. If, as a pastor, you have the same concern for local outreach and global missions as I do, why not take a look at how we are using this grant and see if it can fit in your church’s ministry toolbox? I’d be happy to explain it further to you.”
Let me encourage you to find out more about this by contacting Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.