People are disillusioned, angry and, in some cases, fallen into depression with ‘buckets’ load of unanswered questions. In March 2020, when COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic, a research conducted by Express Scripts, titled America’s State of Mind Report, showed that prescriptions for anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia medications had increased by 21% within the space of one month!
Undeniably, there’s an overcast on the world that is not emotionally inspiring. This general state of affairs applies to believers and unbelievers alike. The Church is at this point, more than ever before, needed to provide hope, succor, and a sense of direction to the world. It is heavy lifting that cannot be left to governments and other institutions alone. It must be handled with the tenacity and sense of mission that was bestowed on the early Church.
When it comes to evangelism, the emphasis in the past has been on winning souls and spreading the good news. That mandate has to be expanded to cover people who are saved but are finding it extremely difficult to deal with an unpredictable pandemic, loss of income, deteriorating health, and loss of loved ones – occurrences that threaten their faith in God.
Church leaders are overwhelmed by the sheer width of issues they have to contend with as a result of the devastating effect of the coronavirus. The pressure is even more as social distancing limits the extent of in-person counseling or ministration. Yet, the Church must press on with the Great Commission. Thankfully, more people are now seeking meaning out of life and open to receiving the good news. Below are a few tips to consider as we continue with the onerous task of winning souls.
1. Invite people to Church
This action appears very obvious and has been the case from the inception of the Church. The difference this time is that many more invitations have to be sent out. Online streaming of sermons is making it easier to reach people all over the world. It’s an excellent opportunity to share your message to believers and unbelievers. More importantly, it’s convenient without the commute. Electronic invitations (flyers, SMS, short videos, etc.) can be sent to anyone in any part of the world to join your program.
2. Community Outreach
Social distancing does not mean community charity drives and giving back to society can no longer hold. Physical distancing can still be adhered to even as you engage the communities. Food and other essential items can be distributed while in cars. Evangelizing activities like a car wash, gardening, and landscaping for the elderly can still be carried out without physical contact. Reach out to the elderly through emails, phone calls, and ask about their wellbeing and where possible, provide for their needs.
3. Reach 1 person or 1 million souls
Creation and distribution of electronic pamphlets that are spiritually enriching and engaging. Use your online platforms to distribute the Word of God and other inspiring messages. A lot of people are in despair, as pointed out earlier. Gauge the mood of people and put together notes that address the prevailing concerns. Use the same medium to get them to get in touch by phone or email. Once engaged, encourage them to give their lives to Christ if they haven’t already.
4. Let your light shine to the world
Let your salt flavor the earth. Be bold and showcase the fact that He that is in you is indeed greater than he that is in the world. This description is what we are called to be. We are the biggest advertisers of the goodness of God. While we are expected to be cautious during the pandemic, we are not to be afraid. Our words and actions should be such that people get attracted to Christ in us.
5. Leverage Your Past Messages
Share existing resources that speak to the essence of the gospel. Dig into your archives and rework past messages for easy distribution. The word of God is never stale. Share information on books that are relevant to evangelism. You can also go online and share clips like “3 circles” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W8ynRMr59k that teach people on how to evangelize.
6. Promote Generosity
Support those in the field through giving. As the lockdown eases, there are those in the field advancing the cause of the gospel. You can support them by giving financially or in kind. Set up a generosity account through Church management software like ChurchPad that has tools to help you reach a broad audience.
7. Social Media Engagement
Leverage your social media handles to share personal stories or testimonies. Encourage members to record their experiences with the Holy Spirit and update their social media handles regularly. Encourage members to consciously increase the percentage of gospel related content they share amongst friends and family.
8. Real-time Engagement
When lives are given to Christ during live broadcasts or sermons, provide them the opportunity to speak to a designated minister or pastor to follow-up with regular phone calls and where possible, physically distanced meet-ups. Provide access through a dedicated phone number or live chat on your website for those who wish to make contact at any time.
9. Gospel Through Entertainment
Music ministers should use the opportunity of the social restrictions and availability of online tools to minister to a broad audience through gospel music. The music should be meaningful and offer solutions in terms of hope and leading people to Jesus Christ.
10. Fervent Prayer
This instruction is the most important aspect of evangelism. When we evangelize, we wrestle with Satan as we bring people out of darkness into His marvelous light. The Bible says we “do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Continuous prayer is, therefore, important for this purpose.