Evangelism & COVID-19

1 Peter 2:11-12 — “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

Over the past week, I have been racking my brain in search of ways that we as a church can capture this unique time for the sake of gospel influence. I believe that God has positioned us for a time like this to advance the Kingdom of Christ. As a church you know the gospel and the Word of God well – now, like always, is the time to deploy the Word, pray, and watch the Holy Spirit work. 

And yet, some of our normal means of evangelizing have been taking away from us. So we need to adapt and come up with new strategies – thus, my mental racking. For a few days, some of us on staff were working on a paper tract that we could give to our neighbors as an attempt to reach out to meet practical needs as well as pointing them to Christ. However, more and more in this strange season it seems like knocking on a door or giving out a potentially contaminated piece of paper would be despised in the eyes of a social-distancing world. We desire to “keep our behavior excellent among” our neighbors and coworkers. So we tossed that idea.

We don’t want our efforts in sharing the love of Christ to unnecessarily be seen as a blatant disregard for conventional wisdom or as an unloving act of foolishness. May we be slandered for our gospel, and not our indiscretion! 

So, what can we do? Here are a few evangelistic ideas I would encourage you to consider: 

  • Reach Out to Unbelieving Friends and Neighbors. We have been encouraging you to be in contact with other members of our church, but this is also a strategic time to check in on neighbors. Of course, this assumes that you already have some means of communicating with them. Give them a call, send them a text message, or utilize some other form of digital communication. Ask them if they have any needs or even things that you could pray for. Offer to share what you have (like, your stash of stock-piled toilet paper. Just kidding!) We of all people should be generous in seasons like this. We have a heavenly Father who is providing for all our needs (Matthew 6:33). As well, pray for opportunities to speak the truth to them.
  • Contact your HOA. One of the members of our church, who has requested to remain anonymous, had this wonderful idea. I asked her to explain what she did:
    • “After considering James 2:14-16, I wanted to help the people God has placed around me. I sent an email to my HOA offering to start a group where we can share needs/extras. They liked the idea and agreed to send out the info. About one-third of the subdivision responded. One neighbor who is “high-risk” shared her concerns about her husband’s health with me privately. It was an opportunity to let her know that I’m a believer. I offered to pray for them and for his protection. As a group, we started up a private page on Facebook where we can communicate needs and check in on each other. I’m hoping for opportunities to speak to my neighbors about their spiritual need for Christ as we care for them physically.”
      What a wonderful idea! I was encouraged by her example and have since sent an email to my HOA manager. I would encourage you to do the same.
  • Share Your Story. In the midst of today’s restriction, if you have a successful opportunity to communicate the gospel with a lost person, please let me know. Send me an email (joes@gbcmt.org) explaining what happened and how you were able to faithfully share the gospel. I would love to compile some of these stories to share them with our Body for the purpose of encouraging others to share Christ. I believe that it is generally true that when we hear stories of how other normal people are faithfully, not perfectly, sharing Christ it encourages us to do the same. So for the sake of the lost, share your story! (I’ll be happy to leave your name out of it.) 
  • Keep Dreaming! Finally, as a church let’s dream up new ways to get the gospel to our community. I’ve been encouraged by stories of many companies who are meeting this Coronavirus challenge head-on by producing new products such as gowns and facemasks. As a church, I wonder how we can do the same for the sake of the gospel. No, we won’t be mass-producing medical products anytime soon. But, are there creative ways that we could leverage the resources that we have as a church for the sake of spreading the gospel? Are there opportunities to love and serve our neighbors who are most impacted by this crisis, like the medical community, with the ultimate goal of gospel proclamation. Send me your ideas – let’s prayerfully dream and innovate for the sake of Christ! 

Although many things have changed, much remains the same. Evangelism still requires a knowledge of the gospel message, the conviction to obey Christ (Matt 28:19-20), and faith-filled boldness. May we pray for opportunities to share Christ and boldness for when the Lord grants the opportunity. Remember these words from our GO Conference speaker Mack Stiles: “Awkwardness is better than silence,” and “A little effort is better than no effort.”

1 Peter 2:9 — “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

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