Sharing Jesus During COVID-19

Here we are, another day in paradise quarantine. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many areas of our lives. Some, like my awesome wife Vee, have gotten a lot busier. Some, like my friends working at the local bike shop and other small businesses, have a lot more time on their hands, and not in a good way. And some, like myself, have a little bit of both, with an extra smattering of complexity.

As the Outreach Director of RCC, I have been thinking about how this dramatic nationwide shift in norms is impacting our country spiritually, and the response is likely as diverse as could be. I am sure there are some in which this creates doubt, and for some it causes them to revisit their faith more strongly. Some are probably drifting from their church community because they cannot gather, and a diligent few are probably drawing closer by meeting regularly, in odd hours online. But the biggest thing going on, I believe, is a lot of fear. And Christians have an opportunity to live differently in times like these.

Most Christians have heard something to the effect of how by living differently, we can passively witness to others in our daily lives. This is true, and it is applicable right now. But we can all go a little bit further than passive, without much effort. All it is going to take is being willing to declare that you are a Christian. Declaring that you are a Christian is also something we should all get comfortable with if we are not already. So let’s look more into this.

Our communities are full of fear right now. But the Bible speaks consistently about us, the followers of Christ and those that know the Lord, not needing to fear anything, and not being ruled by fear (Psalm 56:3, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 94:19, and one of my personal favorites, Matthew 6:34, just to name a few). Of course, we should take all reasonable precautions in our day to day lives to avoid danger and unnecessary risk, but caution and fear are very different. This goes the same for wearing a seatbelt in the car and driving safely as it does for avoiding unnecessary social contact during this pandemic. But fear, just like COVID19, is not something we as Christians should be spreading, as much as we can help it. This is not to say that by feeling afraid in a situation we are doing anything wrong. Fear is a natural response to a threat. But we should never be ruled by fear. Fear does not have to determine our actions. It does not have authority over us. As we focus on God’s love, His Word and His promises, fear is pushed outside of our focus, and we allow God to rule our hearts and minds, rather than fear. And when we have the opportunity, we should be encouraging others to not be ruled by fear. We should be telling people that we don’t have any reason to allow fear to run our lives. And if they ask us why, we should be prepared to tell them about our faith. 1 Peter 3:15 specifically instructs us to always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

This is an evangelism strategy that I hope to share more with the church in the future when we are gathering again. But it is one of the simplest and most effective forms of “pre-evangelism” as I like to call it. It does not require you to ask someone what they believe. It does not mean you will tell people why/how/what they should believe concerning Jesus or the church. All it does is make Christianity visible in your relationships, and hopefully frames it in a positive light. This makes you a resource if they have questions about your faith. What if everyone who considers themselves a Christian in this country decided that once a week, they would overtly out themselves as a Christian to somebody. There would be so many incredible conversations that take place about faith! But most people stay quiet. Most Christians never mention their faith overtly outside of their church community (at least that is how it seems to me).

As you go about your lives in the midst of this pandemic, and in the limited social contact you have, capitalize on opportunities to tell people that you are not fearful (or even if you are, that you are able to put that fear aside, and not let it run your life). And if they continue the conversation by asking why, or talking about their own fear or lack thereof, tell them about your faith and why you do not have to fear. If you feel led to tell them, even if they are not sharing their own fears with you, share that you don’t feel the need to fear because your trust is in Jesus. You have trust in something much larger and more powerful than the government, our healthcare system, or a facemask from Home Depot. Take the opportunity to tell others that if they are worried, fearful, uncertain, or even just feeling disconnected, that you find connection and peace in your relationship with God, and the connections you have in your church. Don’t necessarily tell them that they will find that peace and connection. Tell them about your experience. It tends to go over better that way. Ask them if there is anything that you can pray for in their lives. Maybe even tell them that you will pray for them this week (and then do it). Invite them to tune in to RCC’s services online. And to maintain that connection, reach out to them once services resume and invite them to attend with you if you have their contact information or see them regularly. You don’t need to tell them that they are a sinner and need saving. You don’t need to tell them that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I mean, if you start a conversation that goes that deep, by all means please present the gospel message, but the gospel does NOT need to be the end game of all evangelistic pursuits. Maybe it is just time to plant a seed, not harvest. Just share with them that YOU believe and that your faith is important to YOU. Most people will take this in stride, and it will likely get them thinking about their own beliefs. Maybe someone you share this with will take comfort in a sermon that evening rather than watching The Tiger King.

As someone passionate about outreach, I want to encourage you to take the small step to turn your faith into a tool for reaching the lost by simply being willing to talk about it. Take an opportunity this week to out yourself as a Christian. Tell someone about the importance of your faith, of your connection to Jesus. If we all did that, I bet we would see more people in church once congregations begin meeting again.

Thanks for reading!

-Wade Bieber, Co-Outreach Director for RCC
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