- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 15, 2007

VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) — Using Internet streaming, church members can read sermons from the comfort of home — and the sermons can reach more people than one pastor had ever imagined.

At 4,000 members, Rock Church is already mega-size, but when the Rev. Anne Gimenez discovered ChristianNetcast.com, she realized just how big her audience could be.

The Virginia Beach Web services company put video of Ms. Gimenez’s latest church services online and streams sermons live at www.pastoranne.org. Her Web site is getting more than 100,000 hits a month from around the globe after a year of streaming.

“Literally, I’m preaching to the world, and the potential is amazing,” she said.

The founders of ChristianNetcast.com, David Palmer and Todd Van Tasel, were able to combine ministry and business by creating the site. In 2005, the business moved from Maine to South Hampton Roads, which Mr. Palmer called part of the heartland of evangelical Christianity and broadcasting.

“Some people joke around, saying Tidewater is not the Bible Belt, it’s the buckle, because you have some pretty major ministries based out of this area,” including Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, Mr. Palmer said.

The two men, who have backgrounds in computers and Internet sales, launched ChristianNetcast.com after helping their church in Maine adapt streaming to spread the Christian gospel. The business has about 500 clients and is likely to hit $1 million in revenue this year, Mr. Palmer said.

Monthly customer fees range from $99 for the most basic audio/video streaming service to $649 for more elaborate packages.

The firm also provides clients monthly tallies of viewers or listeners and tracks where consumers are in the United States or outside.

“Nobody was focusing on the Christian market — that’s why we primarily focused there,” Mr. Palmer said.

The business now has six local employees and one in Maine.

ChristianNetcast.com offers customers podcasting, Web site hosting, and audio and video streaming. The firm owns and rents servers, or data centers, in Houston and San Francisco.

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