How does a ministry reach struggling or depressed teenagers who may never enter church doors? Rather than waiting for them to ask for help, JesusCares.com shares the love of Christ with teenagers using the media they already use—text messaging, TV commercials and Internet campaigns. The idea is to saturate the media landscape with promises of God's authentic love.
Sean Dunn, founder of JesusCares.com, says he started the organization when he realized millennials were confused about the nature of God.
"Scripture says it's the kindness of the Lord that draws people to repentance, yet most people—especially millennials—don't believe that He's kind and loving. They believe that He's angry and judgmental," Dunn says. "So the first barrier before anyone will come to faith is they have to understand that God loves them."
The organization buys advertising time on MTV, VH1, Adult Swim, The CW and other popular youth-skewing networks. Dunn compares their advertisements to a seed that plants thoughts of Jesus in their hearts, ready for God to cultivate and grow.
All of these advertisements point to the JesusCares.com website, where teenagers can chat with volunteers. The volunteers counsel depressed and often suicidal teenagers who turn to the site as a final cry for help. Dunn told the story of Bree, a 17-year-old girl who would have overdosed on pills without the intervention of a volunteer. Thanks to JesusCares.com, she is still alive today and has committed her life to Christ.
"It's this beautiful, beautiful connection between two people in other parts of the world," Dunn says. "Yet technology brought them together and made a huge difference in her life." —Taylor Berglund