"The Association" is a Christian-run Internet ministry designed to draw people in to a Christ-honoring online environment where they can gradually be exposed to other Christians and varied information presenting the challenge and benefits of living a life committed to pleasing God. On the Internet, The Association can be found at http://freegroups.net and it's operator, Glen Stewart can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
The name "The Association" sounds like Mafia until one learns that it comes from the idea of Christ coming down to earth to "associate" with the lost and rescue them. This idea is probably the foundational message of Harold Bell Wright's book, "That Printer of Udell's", where a multi-church inter-denominational organization called "The Association" was formed to help people better themselves.
"The Association" and "The Reading Room" were foundational establishments of Harold Bell Wright's story, and served as models, to some degree, for early ministry ideas when the online Association was a Bulletin Board System (BBS) ministry primarily serving modem-using callers from 1991 to 1994. Those ideas (The Reading Room – a massive God-centered reference library, for example) still remain online, though now accessible in World Wide Web (html) format. In December 1995, the BBS completed a transition to 100% Internet operation to reach a larger audience.
Many people struggle to understand how a purely electronic-based ministry can have an impact on people's lives, and how it compares to the ministry of a local church, for example. The following list compares some typical Church ministries with online ministries. Note that online ministries were not designed to compete with the local church, but rather to supplement them by providing a distinct witness where none might otherwise be found.