3 ways to attain on this distinctive second The change
Our world is changing rapidly. COVID-19 has brought uncertainty, economic turmoil, fear of illness and new realities like "protection at home". Six weeks ago, most of us had never heard terms like "flattening the curve". Our world was a different place.
With this in mind, it is helpful to think about some practical and effective ways to continue the work of the Grand Commission in the midst of a new reality that neither of us asked or saw coming.
Churches that strive for effective organic public relations (evangelism) often try to attract people to their campus and invite the world to come to them. An invitation to a major church event will one day be an effective approach, but not today.
At this moment, we need to reach people where they are, connect with them online or virtually, and intend to bring Jesus to people in a creative way.
This means that if we share our faith and live as God's missionary people, we have to adapt.
To achieve this, it is not enough to have great events in a church. The role of leaders in the Church is to equip all of God's people for ministry (Eph. 4: 11-13). Here are three simple and familiar ways to get in touch at that unique moment.
Pray with people
We should all call friends and family, text messaging, or video chatting who are not yet followers of Jesus. When we connect with them, we should ask the profound theological question: "How are you?" Then listen. Good to hear.
When they talk about fear, restlessness, or deep grief, we can politely say something like, “Thank you for telling me this. No pressure at all, but I would be honored to pray for you now if that's okay with you. "
I have asked this question countless times to unbelievers in the past 30 years and only four people have said no. And they said, "No thanks." They weren't angry and I had no persecution.
But hundreds and hundreds of non-Christians were happy to have me pray for them. In many cases, they have tears in their eyes after being prayed. After these moments of prayer there is often a strong feeling for the presence of the Holy Spirit. And in many cases this leads to spiritual conversations and questions.
At a time when there is so much uncertainty and fear, prayer is used and often gladly accepted. Get in the habit of asking, "Can I pray for you?" When you pray, do not turn that moment into a sermon or gospel presentation wrapped in the facade of prayer. Just pray. Cry out to God for help. Use normal language. And pray in Jesus' name.
Community service with commitment to the gospel
At this moment there are unique ways to reach our community. Although most parts of the United States and the world are asking people to stay at home, there are still many needs that we can meet.
If a church takes the time to call its local police, fire brigade and political leaders, they will find that there are needs that they could volunteer to help. Food donations are needed for local programs, closed people need someone to shop for them, etc.
Of course, we have to follow the guidelines that have been given to our church, but people who are healthy and capable can still offer help. As a church stands up for the vulnerable and vulnerable people in their congregation, the door opens for a Christian witness.
Our church has a pantry all year round. Our local authorities are excited to continue to offer this service, and the deeper we look into the COVID-19 epidemic, the more the need has grown.
As the economy struggles, more people need this service. Our team members (mostly volunteers) wear gloves, face masks, follow the prescribed guidelines and also offer prayers and encouraging words. Of course, this is offered, not enforced.
In addition, each bag of groceries contains a small brochure with a month full of reflections.
A key is that we all have to train to take part in spiritual conversations naturally when the door is open. Even with social distance, people can make phone calls, chat from a distance of two meters, and share their stories about God's presence and power in their lives today.
What could be nicer than now to equip Jesus' follower and articulate the life-changing good news of how Jesus gave his life for our sins and how we can receive His amazing grace by believing in His name.
To serve our church in this unique time, we must be ready to give them bread to eat and also to offer the living bread of Jesus. We can give a cup of water, but we must make people aware of the Savior's living water. We can give clothes to keep people warm, but they must also be dressed in the righteousness of Jesus.
We can share our friendliness and companionship, but a relationship with the Savior is what every heart really longs for. What we give is temporary; What Jesus offers is eternal!
Learn to ask good questions and listen
Many families are now spending more time together than they have for years (or ever). Why not recapture the art of conversation instead of retiring to separate rooms and watching streaming shows season after season?
Friends also visit each other and establish a new connection online and on the phone. What an ideal time to ask good questions and listen. We can ask simple questions like, "How are you?" "What are you feeling these days?" and "Are there any ways I can help you during this time?" We can also go a little deeper.
Why not spend time asking questions like: What do you think about God? How do you see Christians? What do you think about my belief? Did you grow up in a religious home … how was it for you? Could you share your personal faith journey (or lack thereof)? What do you think about jesus
Another way to walk with others is to learn to hear their stories, listen to their hearts, and recognize where they are on their spiritual journeys. Too many Christians are concerned that they do not have all the answers.
When you ask questions and let people share their perspectives and experiences, you learn more about where they are in terms of belief. It can even make them ask you to share your answers to the same questions. It will surely create spaces in which the Holy Spirit can enter and move in a way that we never could.
In the future we will involve people in church events and aid programs again. It's good! But today we must continue to participate in the Grand Commission in a well-known but tailored way. Then, when COVID-19 and home placement are less central in our lives, we remember that moment and add these outreach practices to the flow of our future lives.
Kevin Harney is the senior pastor of the Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, California, the founder and visionary director of Organic Outreach Ministries International and author of the Organic Outreach trilogy of books and many other books, studies, and articles. He regularly writes articles for Outreach Magazine.