ORLANDO, Florida — George M. Flattery, a visionary leader who founded a pair of worldwide evangelism and discipleship ministries of the Assemblies of God, received the Lifetime Influencer Award Aug. 3 at the Influence Conference in Orlando.
Flattery founded Network211, a ministry of AG World Missions International Ministries that uses “21st century technology to communicate the first century gospel by helping people discover and grow in their journey with God.”
Various AG leaders paid tribute to the couple in the video. AG Assistant General Superintendent Rick DuBose likened Flattery to a modern apostle Paul.
“He always sees beyond the generation he’s living in,” DuBose said. “He could see what was coming before it got there.”
In 1997, the then-61-year-old Flattery sensed the Lord telling him to use the internet to make gospel presentations to 10 million people. The goal seemed so audacious that Flattery, ordained as an AG minister in 1960, initially shared the vision only with his wife.
“Back then we thought we were cutting edge if we had a laptop and email,” says Flattery’s son Mark D. Flattery, now president and ministry director of Network211.
The original objective of reaching 10 million people in 10 years turned out to be accomplished in half the projected time — by October 2013. Currently, 44.8 million viewers have visited the website and 2.2 people from 244 nations and territories have made an evangelism response on the online interactive community site. Over 370,000 individuals have been discipled and referred to a local church via Network211.
Those who click on a theme word see a pointed video message of five minutes or less, a conclusion that Jesus is the solution to the concern, and evangelism response buttons.
Viewers also have the opportunity to ask questions and fill out prayer requests. Those who click on an evangelism response receive a reply within 48 hours. More than 400 Network211 volunteers recommended by their pastors have been trained to answer spiritual inquiries. These internet missionaries, referred to as 1-2-1 connectors, are located around the world.
Mark Flattery, who like his father is an ordained AG minister and world missionary, says it is important for Network211 to present biblical truths in the midst of an online world that often offers unsound advice.
“In this day and age, people want an online answer — now,” Flattery says. “We have to be there presenting Christ.”
With funds from Light for the Lost and Boys & Girls Missionary Challenge, Network211 purchases Google ad words related to those themes, increasing the likelihood that Journey Answers — which is available in 16 languages — and Who Jesus Is will appear on or near the first page of a search.