By Mark A. Taylor
It all started on an airplane.
Rajiv Badha was flying home to Fremont, California, sitting beside Nic Chumney who lives in Ohio. Chumney is a member of Christ’s Church in Mason, Ohio. As their conversation continued, talk turned to spiritual matters, and Chumney told Badha about the online campus of Christ’s Church, ccmasonlive.churchonline.org.
Badha, who grew up in a Hindu family, decided to check out the congregation’s worship services broadcast live over the Internet every Sunday. But he didn’t log on the first time on a Sunday; instead, he viewed a Sunday service on a Tuesday (Christ’s Church broadcasts content all day every day). Badha’s first question in the online chat room was, “How can I join this church?”
Soon he enrolled in the online version of Foundations, the congregation’s class for those interested in learning more about Christ, the Bible, and the ministry of Christ’s Church.
“When we discovered he didn’t have a Bible, we sent him one,” said Joey Santos, the church’s staff member who manages its online presence. Then Badha participated in an online Bible study led by Santos. He continued sharing the weekly worship services and soon decided he wanted to make Christ his Lord and complete his obedience in Christian baptism.
Leaders from the church considered flying to California to baptize him. But everyone decided it would be wonderful for Badha to meet in person the Christians who had nurtured his faith and helped bring him to belief.
So Badha flew to Cincinnati August 25 and was baptized at Christ’s Church on Sunday, August 26. It was the first time he had ever been in a Christian church building. “I’ll never forget you entered my life,” he messaged Santos when his plane landed in California that evening. [Pictured at top, from left to right, are Joey Santos, Rajiv Badha, and Nic Chumney.]
“This is what our online campus is really about,” Santos said. “It’s engaging people with God and each other through technology.”
Badha continues in a weekly online Bible study.
“He’s changing,” Santos reports. “He participates in the online discussions. Our goal is to disciple him so he will start a church in his home, to start making disciples himself.”
Santos said in the month of August, online visitors from 70 countries logged on to the site, including people who have chatted from India, Pakistan, Russia, and Canada. Online contributions (most of them from those who have never attended a service at the Mason campus) have exceeded $70,000 in 10 months, Santos said.
“You never know where people are in their walk with God,” he said. “The online campus opens the door for people to reestablish their connection with God. And the sense of community people experience in online Bible studies is amazing.”
Mark A. Taylor, former editor of Christian Standard, worships at Christ’s Church in Mason, Ohio.