A few days ago I heard a friend say, “The gospel can’t be quarantined.” I’m grateful he’s correct.
People around the world face fear, isolation, and loss of their regular flow of life. Many face significant financial and health issues that often bring spiritual issues to the forefront. People tend to be open to Christ during trouble and transition. The coronavirus crisis fits both categories.
I’m praying that many years from now, this testimony will become common: “I became a Christian during the coronavirus pandemic.” It’s a ripe time to do evangelism.
Here are 10 simple ideas for leveraging this season to advance the gospel.
1. Reach out to a lost friend.
Ask how they’re doing and how you might pray for them during this uncertain time. This is a perfect time to break the ice with non-Christian friends you’ve not spoken with in a while.
I’ve never met anyone who was offended by an offer for prayer.
Go down your friend list and message everyone you know. I’m encouraging our student leaders to reach out to friends and set up times to catch up. Jump on Zoom or some other way you can see them face to face. Listen well. Short and simple is best. I’ve never met anyone who was offended by an offer for prayer. Most people appreciate genuine care and concern.
2. Go on a walk.
Meet your neighbors and serve them.
When the weather cleared up this week our family took walks and met many neighbors we’d never met before. This is a perfect moment to meet your neighbors and see if they have needs. Swap contact information and start making plans to throw a big block party when social separation ends.
3. Use technology to make social connections.
Our college ministry is planning creative online events for students to fellowship, have fun, and invite new people into our community. We’ve planned a trivia night, a game night using Jack Box, and a virtual game night where we’ll use the break-out feature on Zoom to play online board games like Settlers of Catan. We’re continuing to explore creative ways to have fun together online during this odd time.
4. Start an online discovery group exploring Christianity.
One of my favorite evangelism tools is discovery groups where unbelievers can explore what Christians believe and ask spiritual questions without judgment.
Our college ministry uses discovery groups in dorms and in fraternity and sorority houses, discussing what the Bible says about the values of each Greek chapter. Now’s the perfect time to invite a handful of your skeptical friends to explore the Christian faith.
5. Host a virtual watch party for your online worship services.
Most churches are hosting their services online. Share the link or consider hosting a “watch party” on Facebook that notifies your friends and invites them to watch. Use the comments section to interact with people during the service and follow up with direct messages to take conversations deeper.
6. Invite your friends to your virtual small group.
If you’re already involved in a small-group Bible study and it’s an open group, why not invite a few friends? People are rarely offended when invited to something. You can call or message them and say something like, “One thing that’s keeping me encouraged and connected during this time is my small group from church. We’re meeting on Zoom this Thursday night, and I can share the link with you. I’d love for you to join us.”
You never know what God might do through a simple invitation.
7. Record your testimony and share it on Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
Follow up personally with those who comment. Everyone is online now, and most have more time on their hands, so going live has great potential.
Prepare a two-minute testimony and casually share it via video on social media. You may be surprised by how many views and comments you’ll get. Encourage people to comment or message with questions. Consider answering questions live or take the conversation deeper via a direct message or by phone.
8. Start a spiritual conversation and make virtual appointments with those interested.
Some basic spiritual questions include “What experience do you have with spiritual things?” or “If you could know God personally, would you want to?” If this conversation is on text message, then set up a gospel appointment by saying “I’ve been growing recently in my relationship with God. I’d love to jump on a Zoom call soon and hear more of your story.”
Once you’re on the call you can use a three-story outline: (1) their story, (2) your story, (3) God’s story.
If you use a platform like Zoom, screen share and provide a gospel illustration like “3 2 1,” “Two Ways To Live” or “The Story Film.” Last week, we had a student start a spiritual conversation with a girl in India while they were playing video games on Discord. She mentioned she’d been struggling with serious family issues and felt broken and lost. She expressed a desire to start exploring other religions. Ben shared his testimony and challenged her to study the Gospel of John. He’ll be inviting her to join our online groups this semester.
9. Practice the 3 Habits for Everyday Evangelism.
I used to think evangelism was primarily something you go and do. I planned times of going out on campus to strike up gospel conversations, and even organized group events for evangelism. These are great activities, but I discovered it’s more effective to share Christ as I go. Evangelism is more of a lifestyle than an event.
Here are three habits for everyday evangelism:
- Pray daily for open doors and boldly take advantage of them.
- Create an impact list of people you pray for daily.
- Plan regular times to spend with lost friends.
10. Volunteer to do follow-up calls for your church or ministry.
Your church will likely have many online visitors the next few weeks. Let your church leaders know you’re willing to follow up with those who completed a virtual connection card. You can set up a phone or Zoom call and share the gospel with those who expressed interest in spiritual things.
Volunteering to serve will mean a lot to your church leaders during this season. Your pastors are working hard to serve and love you. Most are adjusting to preaching to an empty room and battling comparison issues. This would be a great time to encourage them. Tell them something you got from the sermon. Let them know you’re “all in” with them.
We may never have a more opportune time to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Let’s go and do it.