'What I Value Most': website with testimonies & the Gospel

Baptist Press
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Posted: Feb 24, 2011 5:30 PM
'What I Value Most': website with testimonies & the Gospel
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)--"I'm surrendering my life to Jesus, finding my value in Him, praying the prayer above," Jodi of Emporia, Kan., checked on the "What I Value Most" website.

The simple website -- www.whativaluemost.com -- encompasses an ever-increasing number of personal testimonies and a clear Gospel presentation. In the two years it has been available to the public, more than 30,000 people -- in all 50 states and nearly 100 nations -- have visited it.

"Our anticipation was that it would greatly impact Louisiana," said Keith Manuel, evangelism associate with the Louisiana Baptist Convention. "We had no idea it would impact the world."

What I Value Most is one element in the "One-on-One Evangelism Made Simple" materials produced by the Louisiana convention's evangelism/church growth team.

The whativaluemost.com instructions under the website's "Share your story" button are simple: Start with a sentence about what life was like before meeting Jesus, then tell about it in 200 words or less. Next, write another 200 words about how God has made the difference. Click the button to add the story to the website.

And then tell friends, family and others where they can read it through word of mouth or through Facebook and Twitter postings.

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary uses One-on-One Evangelism Made Simple resources in its required supervised ministry course. Since the seminary has extension centers in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, it's to be expected that a number of hits on the website would come from those states.

"But what's amazing is that New York is No. 7 of all the states, in terms of number of hits," Manuel said. "You wouldn't anticipate that. And California is No. 10!"

While the website doesn't store personal information, it does collect data that tracks how its reach is expanding, Manuel said.

"Forty-two states have double-digit and triple-digit views, and a few have more than 1,000," Manuel said. "I can understand the spillover into Texas, Mississippi and even Arkansas ... but in New York, nobody is teaching that I'm aware of -- I know, because they have to acquire the materials through our office -- but New York has almost 1,000 views and they read 11 and a half pages at a time."

The nation outside the United States with the most hits is Romania.

"I have no idea how it's in Romania," Manuel said. "No clue. It's in 95 countries -- that's almost half the countries in the world."

Among those, Canada recorded the second largest number of hits. The website also has been viewed in China, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Liberia, Egypt and the list goes on.

"We just put it in the Lord's hands, to see what He would do.... I'm overwhelmed that God would take this to places we never dreamed," Manuel said. "I'm overwhelmed that as God provided the resources through Louisiana Baptists' contributions to the Cooperative Program that God would take What I Value Most around the world."

The website is designed for a person to type in the name of the person whose story they want to read or to read multiple stories just by clicking on the "Feature Stories" button. Each testimony is on a separate webpage.

Another button on the What I Value Most homepage is "Finding the Greatest Value," which uses the acrostic PRAY to make a clear Gospel presentation. Page 9 of the section helps readers respond immediately to the Gospel either by checking the appropriate responses on the webpage or calling 1-888-JESUS-2000 (1-888-537-8720). Both options connect the reader with the Evangelism Response Center of the North American Mission Board for follow-up by a local Southern Baptist church.

The stories on the WhatIValueMost.com website span the gamut of life situations.

"I was real upset with the way I was living my life. Most of the time, I wished I was dead," wrote Matthew.

"My life before Christ was a time when I just existed," wrote Judy. The "how God has made a difference in my life" responses are equally compelling:

"My life is now much simpler by trusting God," wrote Taylor.

"Learning from Jesus and living my life the way He has called me to live has brought more value and meaning in my life than I had ever dreamed before," wrote Chad.

"My significance does not come from my performance, because Jesus values me. He values you too ... please trust Him," wrote John.

So far, 150 people have registered on the website that they made a decision to follow Christ, Manuel said. But even just visiting the website is "part of the evangelistic process of God drawing them to Himself."

Jodi added a personal comment to her decision to let God change her life. "The struggle is great at the current time," the young mother from Kansas wrote. "I am not sure where to start reading the Bible. I procrastinate and make a lot of excuses for not making a difference in my life. Thanks for listening."

Manuel does listen and regularly responds. Those who make a first-time profession of faith are ministered to through the Evangelism Response Center, which directs the contact to a state convention/association/church.

"Sixty-two percent of all visits are brand-new visits," Manuel said. "That indicates the website's influence is spreading.

"When someone goes to a website and goes to the first page and leaves, that's called the 'bounce rate,'" he explained. "On average, it's generally 40-60 percent, meaning that people see the first page and often aren't interested in seeing more.

"We have a bounce rate of only 20 percent," Manuel continued. "To have that kind of bounce rate is phenomenal. That says people either know why they're there or if they get there by accident, they tend to stay and read on average seven pages.

"What I Value Most is in God's hands," Manuel said. "We're privileged to provide our churches with an additional tool to share the Gospel."

For additional information about One on One Evangelism Made Simple and/or www.whativaluemost.com, contact keith.manuel@lbc.org or call 318-448-3402.

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