How does one maintain an effective witness while sheltering in place during this pandemic?
Let’s begin with three initial thoughts:
1. These distancing guidelines are more appropriately called physical distancing than social distancing. With all the technology platforms and social media channels available to us, there are still opportunities to have needed contact with one another.
2. Obstacles present opportunities. If we are willing to think “outside the box” there are still ways we can have a tremendous witness during this pandemic as we shelter in place.
3. God cares about unbelievers more than we do. If we come to Him on bended knee and ask for His wisdom and assistance, He will show us how we can be used. Luke 19:10 reminds us “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
With those cautions in mind, how might we have an effective witness as we shelter in place?
Evangelism begins with prayer. Make a list of five people you are the most burdened to see come to Christ whether they be family, neighbors, friends, or business contacts. Each day ask God to show them their need of the Savior and provide a door of opportunity to witness to them. An exciting thing will most likely happen. You will begin a habit you will wish you had started years ago and one that will continue long after this pandemic is over.
Arrange a time to talk heart to heart
Whether you’re texting, calling or using one of the myriad video sharing platforms, it’s easier than ever to arrange a time to share with someone. While this doesn’t always come naturally when things are “normal”, we are in a time when it is important to check in on each other. As you’re setting up a time to see how someone is doing, be looking for that opportunity to share how Covid-19 has reminded you of what is important in life and what isn’t. Make it clear that they are what matters to you and you would love to share something spiritually important concerning the greatest decision you ever made.
We are hearing from people around the world that those they are reaching are more open than ever to conversations about spiritual things. Arrange a time to talk and be ready!
Use this time to build bridges
As has been said many times, people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Use this time to build bridges with people you can talk to later when the sheltering in place is removed. Some examples:
- An elderly couple that could use a grocery run on their behalf
- A neighbor who needs help with a repair job that does not demand their presence,
- A simple call to check on the welfare of a person you recently met
- Mowing the lawn of someone whose lawn service has been temporarily halted,
- Patiently helping someone who is not as technical as you are learn how to meet with others and take care of their needs online.
First John 3:18 contains an admonition that could be appropriately applied to our relationship with non-Christians, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
Bridges built now may open up doors later.
Write a letter or extended email
What an ideal time to sit down and write a letter or email that shares your heart with theirs. Use whatever means that are most appropriate for them.
If the timing is appropriate, spell out to them very clearly the plan of salvation from a testimonial aspect – what you yourself had to understand when you came to Christ. That is:
- We are sinners (Romans 3:23)
- The wages of sin is eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23)
- Christ died for our sins and rose again (Romans 5:8)
- We are saved by trusting Jesus Christ alone to save us (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Explain to them that right there in the privacy of their sheltering in place location they can place their trust in Christ to save them. I have met literally hundreds of people who have been led to Christ by such a caring presentation of the gospel.
Share a thought provoking quote on social channels
Whether through twitter, Facebook, or whatever social channel you use, share something that stimulates thought. Examples: “It has been said it is not what life does to us that matters, but what we do with life.” “This whole pandemic reminds us that life needs to be lived from eternity backwards. What will matter then needs to be what matters now.” “Years ago, someone told me you are never prepared to live until you are prepared to die. That changed my life.”
Such thought provoking comments can get attention, arouse questions, and begin discussions.
While sheltering in place presents obstacles in evangelism, it also presents opportunities. Ask God to use those opportunities to populate His kingdom during a time when many will see their need of a Savior