Interesting article in the Christianity Today liveblog — The Tebow Bump. In the article, Ted Olsen points out that at the recent BCS championship college football game, Florida quarterback and the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow changed the scripture reference on his eye black from Philippians 4:13 to John 3:16.
The result? According to the Christianity Today article, John 3:16 became the hottest search on Google. Interesting.
What’s more interesting to me, though, is the generally mediocre (at least from an internet evangelism perspective) results that are displayed when one searches on “John 3:16” at Google.
In the natural Google listings, here are the first 10 results:
- BibleGateway.com passage lookup (New International Version)
- BibleGateway.com passage lookup (King James Version)
- Wikipedia article on John 3:16
- Blue Letter Bible passage lookup
- A Flash animation
- An AllAboutGod article on John 3:16
- The home page of John 3:16 Mission
- Passage lookup on the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops
- An article on fanhouse.com about Tim Tebow’s use of the verse on his eye black
Here are the paid listings:
- “Win a free iPhone easily” from prizecarnival.com
- An invitation to bid on John 3:16 at eBay.com (interestingly, the second line in the ad reads “Shop Victoriously”!)
- “John 3:16 at Amazon”
If local churches were already bidding on John 3:16 for local pay-per-click listings (so that their ad was only displayed to people living in their local geographic area), how many people would have been taken from watching the BCS championship game, to searching on Google for “John 3:16”, to clicking on a paid ad from a church in their local area and visiting a page on the church’s website especially designed to intrigue website visitors enough for them to consider joining the church for one of their local gatherings?
What an opportunity that has been missed by local churches across the world!
Obviously, local churches could not be expected to know that Tim Tebow would be displaying John 3:16 on his eye black (since apparently he has displayed Philippians 4:13 in the same location before — I’ve never been a big college football fan, so I may be mistaken). But if they were already bidding on that phrase (which should probably be a natural target for pay-per-click bidding by churches), they would have already been prepared. But since the overwhelming majority of churches have probably never even considered pay-per-click advertising, the opportunity was probably lost forever.