Putting God on the Net
Divine nudge inspired couple, www.BibleResources.org
By Kelly Ettenborough
The Arizona Republic
September 1, 2001
From an old church camp in Cherry, a town too tiny for a post office and
an hour from the nearest grocery store, Bud and Betty Miller run one of the largest
religious Web sites in the world. They registered www.BibleResources.org
in 1995, when they didn't even know what a domain name was and really didn't know much
about the Internet or computers, either. "That God would choose two older people is
really an amazing thing. I think we're the two most unlikely people to be doing
this," said Betty Miller, in her west Texas drawl.
For years, the Millers had led a non-denominational church and missionary ministry, but
they believed God wanted them to go in a new direction. So they sold the Prescott church
building and moved into the church's camp and retreat center in the woods of Cherry, with
the blessing of the congregation. They didn't have a phone line, and they didn't know what
was next. At this point the Millers had no idea what the World Wide Web was. Then a
brochure arrived in the mail, advertising a fabulous way to market anything through
a revolution called the Internet. They attended a Colorado conference and came away with
BibleResources.org for $50.
"I didn't know what was going to happen," said Bud Miller, 72.
"But I had enough promotion in me to figure that it could work. And we had the best
information available, the Lord Jesus Christ." Today, BibleResources.org gets 18
million hits a month. That traffic puts the Millers in Netscape's top 14,000 or so Web
sites. More than 1 million Web sites are devoted to religion, according to Brenda E.
Brasher in her book, Give Me That Online Religion.
By the end of 1995, only a few Web pages were up as the Millers taught themselves how to
use the computer. By the time they had a Web counter, traffic was 300,000 hits a
month. Out-of-state servers host the site, and the Millers use dial-up access to work on
their pages. They are humbled and astonished at the success.
"I believe it's one of those moments when God's direct intervention is so clear that
you really can't miss it. God's moving to bring the gospel to every man, woman and
child on earth," Bud Miller said. With the help of volunteers, donations and some
paid staff, the Millers have turned BibleResources.org into a deep Web site that has stayed away
First, of course, there's the Bible, in 15 different English translations and almost 60
other languages, including Esperanto and Norwegian. Web visitors can search, listen to and
download the Scriptures. Betty writes a daily devotional. More than 100 people e-mail
prayer requests daily to the prayer room, and more than 200 people from around the country
pray daily for the people on that list.
Another 200 to 300 send e-mail, and the Millers and staff members personally answer as
much as possible. "The Web site has pointed out my sin, which is pornography. I
again want to thank you for being there," reads one recent e-mail. Every day, people
send e-mails saying their prayers have been answered, or they have become Christians.
"We've even had e-mail from the devil himself, and at least he signed it,
firstname.lastname@example.org," Betty Miller said.
The Millers had taught a Bible school and sent Bibles around the world through their
church and ministry, Christ Unlimited. The Bible school is now online, with some materials
free and others available for a small fee. The Millers are conservative and charismatic
Christians. They believe the Bible is the inerrant and inspired word of God. Although
references to speaking in
tongues and other beliefs are on the site, they don't focus on doctrine.
Most of all, they want everyone in the world to have access to the Bible and to salvation
in Jesus. "We only want to sell the gospel," Betty Miller said. Site visitors
come from around the world, particularly from countries where Bibles are prohibited and
churches are underground.
The Millers have never paid for advertising, but the word gets out. A guy in Chicago
walked around with a sign that said "Hi. You need to go to BibleResources.org." Last
spring, Entertainment Today listed the site as the most sincere, compared with
the onion.com as the most sarcastic.
The Millers, who operate on donations, see themselves as cyber missionaries, and their
presence, along with that of other Christian sites, balances out the bad on the Internet,
they said. When the dot-com craze was in full swing, they were offered more than $1
million for the domain name. They won't sell, and the registration is paid up for 10
years. "It would be hard to explain to God why we sold it for retirement," Bud
Miller said. "We know God wants us to use this to touch lives."
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or (602) 444-7728.
Used with permission.Permission does not imply endorsement.
The Arizona Republic Newspaper
September 1, 2001
Article by Kelly Ettenborough
Photograph by Suzanne Starr