Tim Kimberley and his wife, Patty, have recently been commissioned as “missionaries to the Internet” by a church in Ohio. Through their website, HeLives.com, they are pioneering a new kind of ministry that presents God’s Word to a visual culture around the world. In the past eight months they have ministered to about fifteen hundred people weekly, and people from eighty-four countries have visited their site.
The need for this kind of ministry is overwhelming. Google, the Internet search engine, reports that every day, two million people type in the word “God” to search for related sites. On the negative side twelve hundred new porn sites—not just pages, but whole websites—are added to the Internet every day. “We provide an alternative. The people we’re reaching who would be spending time on the Internet anyway,” Tim said.
Tim personally understands the trap of sexual sin. He was addicted to pornography as a high-school student before he knew Christ, and the burden of his sin weighed heavily on him. “I became very aware that God was real because I was experiencing his wrath—the guilt I felt because of my sin was much greater than my parents could have the power to inflict on me.” At one point he was even ready to commit suicide.
In his first year of college, when Tim went on a seven-hour road trip to a rugby tournament, he realized that something had to change. The team was self-coached, so no sponsors accompanied the team on the trip, and the hedonism was blatant. By the time the players reached their destination, Tim’s sin and that of his teammates had sickened him. He noticed two of the members were missing and he learned they had driven to the tournament in a separate car. He found them in their hotel room studying the Bible. Tim saw hanging out with them as his chance to live differently.
“I knew that when I did things on my own, I tended to veer off course, but when I did what God wanted, life was peaceful. Their lifestyle symbolized that peace to me.” He stayed with them the rest of the weekend and rode home with them. “That was the first time I’d ever heard Christian music, and there was nothing more that I wanted than peace with God.”
When they got home, Tim was invited to a seeker-sensitive service on campus and began to learn about the Christian faith. A few weeks later, a pastor shared his testimony, and Tim trusted Christ. Within a year, God had rid Tim’s life of the sexual sin that had entangled him.
Tim had always loved computers, and in college he worked at John Deere developing its website. As he continued to grow in his faith, he developed a passion to present God’s Word online with the same creative energy and excellence. So, at night, Tim would apply the same techniques he used at work to HeLives.com.
Then, two summers ago, he went to Uganda for three weeks with a DTS student and discovered that the fastest-growing business in Kampala, the capital city, was Internet cafes. Tim also learned that many of the pastors in Uganda don’t even have their own Bibles, much less access to solid Bible teaching. “While they are passionate about sharing Christ, many of them are teaching heresy because they don’t know any better.”
Tim returned with a new vision for the website—to communicate all sixty-six books of the Bible to meet this kind of need around the world. Through contacts from fellow DTS students, Tim set up a board of directors for the website and filed the necessary paperwork to achieve nonprofit status.
The site offers both resources and forums for discussion, which have met real needs—especially for teens. In the teen forum alone more than three thousand five hundred theological conversations have taken place in the past seven months. And many of these conversations are surprisingly personal. “I always thought the Internet was too impersonal for discipleship, but we’ve found that when we’re real with people, they open up and share more than they might in person.”
Tim sees HeLives.com as a way to meet people who feel more comfortable behind the keyboard than in a pew and point them toward sound doctrine and truth—then encourage them to plug back into a local faith community. And many of those who have been discipled are now turning around to disciple others.
Paul’s exhortation to Titus to “encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Tit. 1:9) encourages the Kimberleys to be good stewards of biblical resources and accomplish God’s purpose in new ways.
HeLives.com takes a timeless message and relates it to a searching world.