ACTS International (A Christian Teaching Service) is a non-profit church service organization whose members and supporters come from many different Christian churches and denominations. Our purpose is to bridge the gap between the church and the non-church community by communicating the gospel and Christian message to the wider community—which, via the Internet, has become a world-wide community.
"If you build it, they will come," may work in the movies but rarely in real life—thus building a web site isn't enough to reach people with the gospel and Christian message. Reaching people via e-mail and the web has become extremely competitive in that there are now thousands of web sites and e-mailers operating daily.
To reach people we have to work at it more diligently than ever and advertise aggressively. But does advertising work? Yes, if carefully directed. Our advertising, though costly, has been extremely effective. We advertise via secular media services. We do this because our goal is to reach non-church people with the gospel. In other words, "if you're going to catch fish, you have to go where the fish are."
In fact, the ACTS ministries are booming as a direct result of effective advertising. Daily, Weekend and Prayer Encounter lists have grown to almost 400,000 subscribers worldwide. As a result, this year we will be sending out over 100 million email messages all to legitimate Encounter subscribers—not to mention the multiplied thousands more reached through our advertising and web pages. Please note, too, that we never send any spam messages—ever!
Even more encouraging is that from the ACTS Internet and Daily Encounter ministries ACTS have received over 40,000 salvation and re-commitment to Jesus Christ responses from 164 countries that we know about—since we started on line in an extremely small way in 1998.
As the late missionary statesman, Oswald J. Smith of Toronto, Canada said, "The supreme task of the church is the evangelization of the world." This indeed was the command and commission of Jesus Christ. "You are to go into all the world and preach [communicate] the gospel," he said, "to everyone everywhere!"
Never before has this been as possible as it is in today's world. ACTS International is totally committed to actively participating in this Christ-given commission.
Also, perhaps as never before can so many non-believers be reached ... by so few ... for so little comparative cost ... in so short a time .... as in today's world with e-Mail and the Internet.
However, even though the gospel is without charge—as are the Encounter subscriptions and other ministries of ACTS International— these all take money to make available.
Felt Needs: The key for effective communications and for opening closed minds
The Power of the Internet
In the 1450s when Johann Gutenberg, a German from Mainz, invented movable type to print the Bible, he introduced one of the most important technical advances in history up to that time. His invention "transformed education, learning, evangelism and communication. It laid the foundations for the Renaissance, the arts, sciences, and the world as we know it today."1
Today, however, the Internet is creating a communications revolution of far greater and more immediate impact. People worldwide can be reached 24-7-365 with any message anyone cares to send—either for good or for bad.
Perhaps God has given today's church the greatest resources, the greatest training, the most powerful technology, and the most effective means of communication ever in order to reach the ends of the earth with the gospel in preparation for the Lord's return.
While businesses, spammers, and pornographers are taking the fullest possible advantage of the worldwide web to "promote and sell their wares," the average church web site is designed to communicate to it's members and fellow Christians in christianeze—language that is mostly understood only by Christians—as are 99% of the books in the average Christian bookstore.
ACTS primary goal is to reach non-church people around the world and to communicate the gospel effectively to them. The key for reaching people is advertising via the secular media, and the key for communicating effectively is to reach people at their point of felt or perceived need. Thus, "scratching people where they itch" is the proven key for opening closed minds. This is the way Jesus always communicated to people. He met them exactly where they were "at"—be it a physical, emotional, relational or spiritual need. And this is what ACTS seeks to do. All of our articles on the web and in our Daily and Weekend Encounters are written to address not only spiritual needs, but also relational, family, personal, and emotional needs; that is, to open closed minds and reach people with the gospel and message of God's Word at their point of felt need.
Based on the words of Jesus Christ, "Do you want to be made whole?" ACTS goal is to apply the Christian message and gospel to the growth and maturity of the whole person and thereby help people find Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and grow to become healthy and whole— emotionally and relationally as well as spiritually. Most of ACTS gospel outreach ministry in North America is now done via E-mail and Internet outreach.
CLICK HERE for an update report on the effectiveness of ACTS E-mail and Internet ministry. Over forty million of ACTS printed gospel brochures/leaflets have been distributed worldwide by hundreds of churches, chaplains, other Christian organizations, business and professional people, and lay persons. U.S. Military chaplains have used them on ships, aircraft carriers, submarines and on bases around the world. The ACTS gospel brochures are still being distributed by our Australian office. ACTS International was founded in 1968 by Richard (Dick) Innes and has offices in California and Australia. With the passing of ACTS New Zealand director, the New Zealand office has been discontinued.
About ACTS International Founder, Richard (Dick) Innes
Dick grew up in Brisbane, Australia. He is a graduate of the Queensland Technical College in Brisbane, and the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois, U.S.A., and a Master of Arts in Communications from Wheaton College Graduate School in Wheaton (Chicago), Illinois, U.S.A. He has been a pastor in Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A., the South Australian Director of Youth for Christ, and is the founder of and Director of ACTS International since its inception in 1968. He has lived in Southern California since 1981. He has also been the editor of Psychology for Living magazine published by the Narramore Christian Foundation—a Christian mental health organization.
Dick was a teacher for quite a few years in the Divorce and Grief Recovery ministry at the former Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. He has authored three books and more than 250 Encounter outreach brochure articles—40 million printed copies of which have been distributed in several countries. He has led seminars and workshops in several countries, is a pastoral counselor, speaker and teacher. He currently resides in Southern California, with Joy, his wife.
About Joy Innes
Joy is a registered nurse, having been head of the obstetrics department at St. Helena Hospital in Deer Park, California and is a child-birth education teacher. Before going into nursing, she was the office manager of her former late husband's accounting firm.
She has also taken over the role of office manager for ACTS International, and continues to teach birthing classes in a voluntary capacity.
Dick and Joy have four grown children and six grand-daughters and live in Southern California.