- Christine Armstrong
'What is your story' Evangelism in a Pandemic (Part 2)
As we connect with people, our job is to discover their story and help them think!
How do we do that? We make the most of our conversations and intentionally ask questions respectfully to find out what their story is, not to argue with them but to genuinely learn where they’re coming from. Asking questions and making people think is what Jesus beautifully models to us in the gospels.
Sam Chan describes conversations using the analogy of an onion. Before COVID we could quite easily get stuck on the outer layer talking about safe topics like the weather, sport, work and family but with COVID, a lot of these aspects of our lives have been affected. This means it’s easier to get into the middle layer to talk more about how people are feeling and what they value. The centre of the onion is our goal and is where we talk about our worldview and God. Questions to help us get there could include “What’s getting you through this time?” “What gives you hope?” “Do you have a faith?” “Do you celebrate Christmas?” “How can I pray for you?”
How do we bring Jesus and the gospel into the conversation?
We’re all in this pandemic together so we can witness out of our weakness. We can share our story of needing Jesus as our rock, how He has helped us during the COVID storm and the amazing certain hope we have in Him. You could say something like: What’s really helped me cope during this pandemic is the hope I get from knowing…
Getting from the sand to the rock of Jesus and His Word
The point of these conversations is to lovingly help people move closer to entering the Kingdom. Ideally we want to help them get to know Jesus for themselves by hearing His voice in His Word. The gospel has the power to save - not us. The Word will do the heavy lifting because God speaks through His Word by His Spirit. Jesus himself said in John 10:24 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.”
There are of course many ways we can expose people to God’s Word. It could look like inviting them to an online or in-person church service or to a course and having conversations afterwards. Often people will feel most comfortable meeting one-to-one with someone they know to look at the Bible for the first time. This can be done virtually too. Journeying with people to help them take steps towards the Kingdom is a great joy that God invites us all into.
Evangelism is something we should all help each other with. Our first priority is to help each other stay on the rock. The more we know His merciful and generous heart through His Word, the more we will love Him and want to help people around us see that there is a bigger and better story that they can be a part of.