Evangelism in a Time of Social Distancing
The risk worth taking is not one that endangers someone’s physical wellbeing by violating the spatial separation we must maintain. The risk worth taking is one that is bold enough to confront the spiritual and eternal danger others are already in.
Over the last few months, life has radically changed all over the world. The days of in person conversation seem like a distant memory as we socially distance, with many remaining completely isolated. As parts of our everyday life evaporate, they reveal a world desperate for deliverance from the effects of sin. The pandemic, loss of income, and altered daily rhythms torment us outwardly, yet those realities can be overshadowed by the fear, anxiety, loneliness, and anger that erupt within. The world wants peace and safety, but it is only finding chaos and danger.
The world is rightfully consumed with answering the pandemic. We thank God for the incredible scientists and medical professionals serving the infected. The selflessness and tenacity of the medical response to the physical crisis is heroic. They selflessly move toward the sick and dying, knowing that their intervention can make a difference between life and death. Their urgency is an example to us all.
In light of the medical community’s tenacity, this leads to the question: what urgency is there to our gospel message today? For some time now we have been asking, “Who’s your one?” Who should we call to repent and believe in Christ? No doubt we can all identify at least one unsaved person whom we can engage with the gospel. The question now is, what step will we take today?
This is the day to make that phone call, send that email, write that letter explaining the hope we have within us (1 Peter 3:15). Yes, there are a hundred good acts of mercy we can and should do for our neighbors. Yes, there are sacrifices we must make to provide for others (Acts 2:44). And yes they will see Christ in how we serve (Matthew 5:16). But if done in silence, all of those acts of kindness could be done by an atheist too. We have the eternal Word of God that transforms lives. Paul said in Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” Today, we must deliver that saving message!
The risk worth taking is not one that endangers someone’s physical wellbeing by violating the spatial separation we must maintain. The risk worth taking is one that is bold enough to confront the spiritual and eternal danger others are already in. Being confined to our homes does not limit the power of the Gospel or our freedom to proclaim it. Let the urgency of this current crisis provoke us to contact those who will hear with Christ’s message of hope. The pandemic may rage on, but we long for others to know the peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7). That same peace guards the hearts and minds of those who turn from their sins and believe in Christ alone for salvation (Romans 10:9).
The Apostle Paul considered as first importance the good news of Christ’s atoning work (1 Corinthians 15:3). Let that be the word others hear from us. So while we find ourselves in this season of isolation, here are several ideas to help carry out the great commission in a season of isolation:
- Pray proactively. Pray daily for the unbelievers we know. However we interact with them, tell them you are praying for them. This situation brings incredible stress into life that no distraction can take away. Ask how to sharpen our prayers for their situation. Letting people know that you care deeply enough for them to pray for them is a perfect place to start a gospel conversation.
- Preemptive giving. Meet a need before it appears. Drop off household cleaners or a sealed package of food, order a pizza to their home, leave an encouraging note on their doorstep. These are simple but powerful steps that show a genuine concern for their well being.
- Always ready. While those around you may not reach out for hope today, let them know that you are always available to share resources, to give encouragement, and to help resolve conflict. Take the extra steps to be available for conversations that lead to the hope we have in Christ.
- Invite friends to online church services. Invite those around us to watch our church’s online services. Encourage them to take an hour to tune in and learn about the source of our peace and joy.
- Be salt and light. To whatever extent possible, serve in such a way that demonstrates the selfless love of Christ. In such a challenging time, the world needs bold and compassionate examples of believers serving so that others around us see our good works and will be pointed towards Christ.
- Be resourceful. Take a look at the evangelistic resources from our Gospel Toolbox. Here you will find articles, videos, and illustrations for explaining the gospel online.