The pandemic provides an unprecedented opportunity for the spread of the gospel.
COVID-19 PERSPECTIVE: Greg Stier
Dare 2 Share
Never before in our lifetime has there been such an amazing opportunity for the spread of the gospel. This pandemic, as horrific as it has been (and continues to be), presents an unprecedented opportunity for the exponential spread of the gospel.
Many church leaders have wondered how the gospel can be shared effectively when many have been confined to their homes and social interaction has been greatly discouraged. In other words how can “social distancing” and “gospel witnessing” coexist?
Paul had the same problem in Acts 28:16, “When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.”
During this time Paul was under house arrest, chained to a Roman guard, waiting to bring his case before Nero. But he found a way around his forced “quarantine.”
According to Philippians 1:12–13:
“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.”
According to historical accounts, there were approximately 10,000 soldiers in the palace guard (also known as the Praetorian Guard). Paul was reaching the Roman soldiers he was chained to for Christ. In turn, they were leading other soldiers to Jesus. Soon, the whole Palace Guard had been exposed to the contagious good news.
How do we help lead our churches to reach out during this time of social quarantine? We must remind them to pray, care and share.
Prayer was the secret to Paul’s evangelistic success. He relentlessly prayed for the lost to be saved (Rom. 10:1) and God consistently answered that prayer. Why not have your church people each write down the names of three people they are going to start praying for daily to come to know Jesus?
Paul also cared deeply for people. His pen dripped with love and affection for the unreached (Rom. 9:1-3) and he consistently sought to meet the needs of those who were hurting. His ministry was characterized by taking care of the underprivileged and poor (Gal. 2:10).
Many are hurting at this time like never before. Jobs have been lost. Fear has been amplified. Now is the time to take care of the physical and emotional needs of friends, neighbors and co-workers, demonstrating the love of Jesus in tangible ways. Asking others how they are doing emotionally during this time and if there is anything they need, is a simple way to show you care.
Finally, Paul shared the good news verbally, out loud with words. Paul wasn’t ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16) and we shouldn’t be either.
Why not consider equipping your people to share the Good News of Jesus? Dare 2 Share, the ministry I lead, has a free app called Life in 6 Words that can be shared in person (even from six feet away) as well as virtually. Have your congregation download it and start engaging in gospel conversations with those they know.
People are open now more than ever to spiritual conversations. Now is the time to seize the opportunity for evangelism.
Long after this pandemic is over may each of us be able to say, along with the apostle Paul, “What has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”
Read more COVID-19 Perspectives from pastors and church leaders.