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Got Questions Reaches 13 Million Monthly Visitors with Biblical Answers

As ministries went online during the early 2000s, a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate named Shea Houdmann thought he would launch a digital outreach in 2002 to answer people’s questions about the Bible. He planned to run the site as a hobby until God called him to his “real” ministry.

Twenty years later, GotQuestions.org reaches 13 million online visitors a month with its answers to nearly 700,000 theological questions. The $1.6 million ministry publishes articles in 185 different languages and has created apps, a YouTube channel with 275,000 subscribers, and a podcast.

“Little did we know this would be the real ministry,” said Houdmann in a recent interview.

Can Christians lose their salvation?

Do animals go to heaven?

And what does the Bible teach about women pastors? Homosexuality? Tattoos? Masturbation? Interracial marriage? And white supremacy?

Millions want to know the answers to these and other questions. Some say they ask because they’ve always wondered about a particular issue, they didn’t have anyone else to ask, and didn’t want to bother their pastors.

“Maybe the anonymity of it allows people to ask questions they’re embarrassed to ask, and they didn’t want to feel stupid,” Houdmann said.

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The Colorado Springs-based ministry’s motto is simple: “Got questions? The Bible has answers, and we’ll help you find them.”

Questions are treated with respect and answered in a conversational tone with “love and grace.”

“It’s as if you and I were good friends and you said, ‘Hey, Shea, what do you think about this?’ And I replied, ‘Here’s what I think the right answer is.’” 

Answers come from Houdmann and his team of 11 employees and trained volunteers.

Its mission statement is clear: “We are Christian, Protestant, evangelical, theologically conservative, and non-denominational. We view ourselves as a para-church ministry, coming alongside the church to help people find answers to their spiritually related questions.”

Some questions are seasonal perennials: Jesus’ birth and death are more frequent topics around Christmas and Easter.

Other questions arise from pop culture. In 2005 readers started submitting questions about whether the Archangel Michael will join Satan in his rebellion in the End Times. The questions arose not from the Bible, but from Constantine, a Keanu Reeves movie that exploited theological themes.

In recent years, as more Americans have abandoned religion, Houdmann has seen more questioners doubting the existence of God.

Another recent trend: More trolls. In response to questions about whether Donald Trump or Barack Obama was the anti-Christ, GotQuestions answered that neither politician was Satan’s spawn, drawing condemnation from both sides of the political aisle.

“There are more people disagreeing vehemently, and not knowing how to disagree kindly,” said Houdmann.

The trickiest Bible question to answer: Who are the Nephilim? 

The most difficult to answer is also one of the most common: Why did God allow…(fill in the blank)?

“We try to encourage people and remind people of the reasons to trust God even when they don’t understand what’s happening,” Houdmann said, “but we try not to speculate about the terrible thing they experienced.”

At first, he thought the site would help new believers grow in their faith. But questions about salvation and what happens after death showed that the site could also serve evangelism.

Got Questions Ministries, an ECFA member, reported 2021 income of $1,582,203. Donations come from more than 6,000 givers, including readers who appreciate the site and a few churches and foundations. The ministry derives 16% of its income from advertisers, including Compassion International and Dallas Seminary.

Its 990s say the ministry spends zero dollars on executive compensation, but Houdmann and his wife actually received $160,000 in compensation, or approximately 10% of total income. Houdmann acknowledged the reporting error and said it would be corrected in future filings.

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Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He and his wife Lois live in Colorado.

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