How the Coronavirus Impacts Evangelism and Outreach
I recently had lunch with a friend who told me, “When I hear what is happening with the Coronavirus (or Covid-19) and everything else in the world, I do not know what I would do if I did not know the Lord.”
There are so many out there who lack this kind of security in Christ, and it heightens the need for us to be as vigilant as ever in spreading the message of eternal life in Christ alone.
In other words, it was a great day for evangelism and outreach before news of the Coronavirus hit. It is an even greater day now.
However, we must move forward with wisdom. So, as we delve deeper into the midst of this pandemic, I think it would be wise to keep these four points in mind as we seek to present the life-changing message of Christ.
As Christ shows concern for us, we are called to show concern for others. Even if you aren’t personally concerned about Covid-19, to dismiss this as “nothing” to someone who is concerned, would portray you as an uncaring person. And while aggressively making your point may help you win an argument, it won’t help you win others to our Savior.
On the other hand, if you are concerned about the virus, be transparent about that as well. Other people need to know that you too have had thoughts about, “What if it happened to me?”
In either case, here’s the key: allow your concern to point to Christ. As you show concern for others, let them know that they can find security where you have found security – in the arms of the Savior.
Use it as a reminder
The Coronavirus reminds us of what we all know, but sometimes find hard to face – life is fragile, and nobody is promised tomorrow.
I have never met an unbeliever who denies that our lives can end at any time, but I have met many who don‘t think about it enough – or don’t want to. The Bible reminds us of the fragility of life several times, including in James 4:13, which reads, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit.’ Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
The point is clear – being here today does not promise we’ll be here tomorrow.
This is our opportunity to remind others that while health and life are fragile and as stable as a vapor, we have an unmovable God who makes an unbreakable promise: the promise of eternal life at the moment we place our trust in His Son.
As Christians, we don’t have to worry being here tomorrow. We know that the day we’re called home, we are actually called to our eternal home. What an amazing message to pass along in the midst of uncertainty and fear.
With the above in mind, now is your opportunity to express your heart. Where and how have you found peace in the midst of widespread concern?
It is not through something like a hoped-for vaccine that cannot come soon enough, but through Someone who has already come into your life. With that in mind, explain how you came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Remember that an effective testimony explains three things: where you were before you met Christ, how you met Him, and what difference He has made now.
In explaining how you met Jesus, I cannot stress enough the need to make the gospel clear. Regardless of how it all happened, you came to see yourself as a sinner, recognized Jesus Christ as the perfect Son of God who died for you on a cross and rose again, and you trusted Him alone to save you. That way he also knows how he can come to Christ. As the unbeliever you are talking to, I cannot come to Christ when and where you did. That is in the past. I must come though the way you did – as a sinner in need of a Savior.
Keep in mind that the non-Christian you are talking to probably holds the feelings and thoughts many do – one has to work or earn their way to heaven. Your stress should be that you discovered eternal life is a free gift because of what Christ did on the cross. What better news could a person hear in the midst of bad news they are confronted with every day.
Ask God for wisdom
Be a good listener and be sensitive. Listen to how they respond to what you are saying, be patient with their thoughts and questions, even their disagreement! Ask God to give you wisdom as to where you go from here.
Most people are not going to come to Christ the first time they hear the gospel. They need to think about it, have further discussion, and interact some more. God is more concerned about the person you are talking to than you are. As you quietly pray for wisdom, He will direct you as to what your next step might be – and when. Something so simple as the offer to treat the person to breakfast or lunch in a week or two and talk some more might be something readily accepted.
Do not ignore or get so absorbed in the news about the Coronavirus that you miss the obvious – the opportunity it gives us to talk about the Savior.
Jesus Christ provides the way you can live as a person prepared to die, and then die as a person prepared to live!
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