At the Helm of the Number One French-language Protestant Network, Jesus.net
The history of the site TopChrétien is that of a “success story”. This pioneer website was set up in 1999; its purpose is evangelism on the sixth continent: Internet. It was able to build a large audience and today it presents itself as the first Christian French-speaking portal. Since its inception, the site has continued to grow, to expand, to explore all the possibilities offered by new technologies, so that it now offers through all its applications a global religious culture ; it grew into a larger network, called Jesus.net, which proposes online guidance and counseling, online religious practices and sacred spaces.
Believers in Protestantism are not subjected to any hierarchical control: the role of self-proclaimed charismatic leaders should be emphasized, and initiatives are teeming in a virtual world where deregulation and decompartmentalization are facilitated. This contribution proposes to present this successful network built outside the ecclesial structures. Based on interviews and surveys of stakeholders, our study analyzes the vision and strategy developed by the founder (pastor of a Pentecostal church) and his entourage.
The initial idea of the website was substantially amended: the site was basically simple and non-specialized (an internet directory of Christian sites); but the dynamic created by the explosive growth of the Internet led creators of TopChrétien to develop a new vision: by pooling their individual and collective experience, they will be able to innovate to adapt the use of the Internet to the religious question.