Record numbers seeking spiritual help globally over coronavirus
By: Michael F. Haverluck
This is indeed good news. People are responding to this and finding hope. Best of all, technology making it possible to reach people secretly whether they live in China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia or any other closed society.
As fear circles the globe over the coronavirus, those who are seeking spiritual comfort has reached unprecedented levels worldwide.
As people's fear over physical, financial or employment wellbeing continues to spike due to the COVID-19 panic, a pioneering and leading online ministry reports that record numbers of people are searching for answers through faith, God and the Bible.
Crisis drawing man toward God
Global Media Outreach (GMO) founder and chairman Walt Wilson says man's concerns over mortality and the unknown during the coronavirus pandemic are drawing people to God for the answers.
"Fear is a natural response to a situation like this that none of us have encountered before," Wilson explains in a GMO press release. "What we're seeing is millions of people open to talking about faith in the face of fear, and we're ramping up to be available for them."
Besides a massive uptick in those seeking out online ministries for answers, online search engines are reporting burgeoning numbers of those seeking advice as their apprehension about the severity of the virus weighs them down.
"According to Google, searches about fears around the virus, uncertain finances and employment are growing rapidly," says Wilson, whose digital ministry reaches people around the globe via the Internet and mobile technologies, as well as through a proprietary and secure messaging system.
When technology users respond to GMO's message of hope online, they are given spiritual support and connected to a Christian community so they can grow in their faith.
The Great Commission fast forward
Since GMO was founded in 2004, it has reached nearly 2 billion people, with more than 223 million having responded positively to its message of putting their faith and hope in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The pioneer in Internet ministry has reached out and touched lives with God's love and offered the message of peace, encouragement and spiritual guidance in every nation on Earth.
With the growing panic over the coronavirus, GMO president Jeff Gowler says the number of those being touched by the ministry is burgeoning so much that it is having to expand in order to meet the greater demand.
"We have grown strategically and intentionally so that through our staff and volunteers, we can scale up to meet the higher and higher levels of need we're seeing now," Gowler shares.
"With uncertainty about COVID-19, our personal touches have gone from 350,000 people per day – reaching now upwards to 500,000. The only limit we face is the financial cost of telling people we're available through online and social media ads. People dealing with fear and anxiety need comfort and support, and we're here to help."
Currently, GMO is using 3,500 online volunteers who speak 50 different languages in a massive effort to answer questions from inquiring Internet users around the world. A major part of their outreach is guiding and praying for new believers as they enter their new spiritual journey in a safe environment that provides anonymity.
As numbers continue to rise to more than 380,000 cases and nearly 17,000 deaths from the coronavirus worldwide , more and more businesses and governments are shutting many operations down, which is causing an increased amount of pain and hardship globally.
"During the present pandemic, Gospel Media Outreach helps those who are hurting and afraid," Gowler states. "We provide a highly personal interaction without physical contact, so those quarantined can still have a deeply personal connection with online volunteers who will encourage and pray for them."
In uncertain times, the Christian leader – whose ministry is headquartered in Plano, Texas – encourages believers to help spread the message of hope and eternal life around the world.
"Right now, matters of faith are front and center for all seven billion people on our planet," Gowler adds. "We're calling for people to be bold in uncertain times and [join] us to replace distress with hope and to lead millions to peace and assurance through a relationship with Jesus."