How to leverage evangelistic opportunities in the time of social distancing.
Easter 2020 will be the most unusual Easter any of us have ever experienced. Short of an unforeseen miracle, we will all celebrate it in smaller family groups without the musical performances, new clothes, high worship attendance, egg hunts, sunrise services or any of the traditions we have come to expect.
Perhaps more concerning is the fact that a significant percentage of our friends and neighbors typically only attend church on Easter. This is the one time a year we know they could hear the gospel and be saved. We pray for this. We invite them to church with us. We even plan for after Easter conversations. But now, during this global pandemic and the social distancing, can Easter be an evangelistic opportunity?
First, I think it can. Second, I know it will be different and will require more intentionality and creativity on our parts.
How can we leverage this Easter for evangelism?
1. Grow Your Faith.
The Easter story is one of encouragement. The apostle Paul tells us that in the resurrection is the strength and means of our spiritual growth (see Romans 6:5). The resurrection also serves as the evidence of God’s victory (see 1 Corinthians 15:27-28) Consider these words from “In Christ Alone”:
There in the ground his body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave he rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.1
Evangelism is always an overflow of our faith in Jesus; it is not a ritual or event. As you enter this Easter season, one that is shrouded in suffering, feed your own soul. Let your faith grow so you will be ready to share with others the “reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Are you concerned, afraid, worried, frustrated? Lean into the Easter story and be strengthened.
2. Show Your Faith.
People are hurting. People are afraid. People’s lives have been turned upside down and shattered.
This crisis moment provides you and me the platform to show others, especially unbelievers, that our faith is genuine. It may be possible to miss the Christian message in the ceremony and celebration of our Easter traditions.
Think about these words from Mordecai to Esther: “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). There are other times we might have chosen to live, but God has given us today to display our faith.
“When this plague has passed, what will our neighbors remember of us? Will they remember that the Christians took immediate, decisive action to protect the vulnerable, even at great personal and organizational cost? Will they remember that, being prepared and free from panic, the households of their Christian neighbors were able to visit the needy (while protecting them by keeping appropriate social distance!), provide for their needs, and bring hope?”
It was on the first Easter that God demonstrated his love to us (Rom. 5:8). Can we use this Easter to show his love to others?
3. Share Your Faith.
Let’s be honest, in the past, you and I have been able to let others share Christ in our place. We have relied on preachers, musicians, or other experts to tell our neighbors about Jesus. This year will be different. Remember the song we used to sing when we were kids: “This Little Light of Mine”? This is your time to let it shine!
Consider these facts:
• You will have conversations with people—in person and online.
• Everyone is thinking about death, suffering, and anxiety.
• You will talk with many people who will lament missing church on Easter.
• Everyone is looking for hope, for a glimmer of light in this darkness.
Each of these are your opportunity to leverage Easter for evangelism.
Several practical suggestions:
• The Jesus Film tells the story of Jesus, including the resurrection. Pass this link to your friends or post it online. Be willing to answer questions about it. Also check out The Story Film for another video resource.
• Post questions online that elicit inquiries about faith.
– “How can I pray for you?”
– “In this crisis, are you hopeless or hopeful?”
– “If you could ask God one question right now, what would it be?”
– “What ways have you observed kindness in the midst of this crisis?”
• Freely share how your faith helps you in moments like this. Here is an article I wrote about sharing your personal story.
• Don’t forget your family needs Jesus too. This is a great time to share the gospel with those closest to you.
• Share the link to your church’s Easter service and then invite your neighbors to a virtual Easter brunch to enjoy fellowship.
• On Easter Sunday, prayer walk your neighborhood, and when you see a neighbor, tell them you are praying for them today. Use Google Maps or blesseveryhome.com as a way to know who lives around you.
• Reach out to non-believing friends and ask how they are coping, is there any way you can serve them, how can you pray for them?
At the outset of this crisis, a pastor friend of mine posted: “Remember the coronavirus? It was during the pandemic that I became a follower of Jesus.”
Let’s pray that this is the testimony of many.
This article originally appeared on LifeWayVoices.com and is reposted here by permission.
1. Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001