Notes from an FIEC Leadership in Lockdown webinar on Keeping Evangelism Central During Lockdown with Jeremy Marshall and Mike Kendall.
1. Check out on the FIEC website a video interview with Andrew Gordon and Raymond Brown on Race and the Evangelical Church.
2. Expectation is that there will be some news for churches with regards to the relaxation of lockdown restrictions. Unless restrictions are re-imposed due to the R-rate going up, it appears this could go in one of two directions. Either gatherings for corporate worship will be allowed provided social distancing and cleaning is in place and without any singing or gatherings for only specific types of services (marriages, funerals, ordinations, naming ceremonies etc). The hesitation is caused by the evidence from around the world that places of worship are centres from where the virus spreads.
3. Why are we ashamed of the gospel? i) External pressure comes from the culture which sees the gospel message about rescue from the wrath to come, that we are sinners needing to be forgiven as unacceptable. ii) Internal doubt comes from seeing little fruit in terms of conversions. With all the effort put into evangelism by 600+ FIEC churches, not a huge number of conversions have been seen over last year, and often they are concentrated in particular locations.
4. How do we counter our shame? i) Live by faith in God’s Word. We need to believe and trust what God says about the gospel. ii) Trust in God’s sovereign purposes. We pray, preach, proclaim but God is sovereign in salvation.
5. It appears people have been more open to the gospel in the last 3 months than they have since then end of World War 2. They are afraid of dying, and the daily death toil announcement reminds them of the reality of death. We have a great opportunity to talk about hope in the face of death.
6. Technology gives non-Christians a chance to check out church in an anonymous way. When church returns to normal, don’t give up on technology. Consider a hybrid model for evangelistic events.
7. Interview format works well for online evangelism. It makes it easy for those tuning in to understand and follow and is enhanced by getting questions from those who are watching. Use Zoom with live feed onto YouTube and Facebook.
9. Important that we keep the gospel central and evangelism a priority in lockdown.
10. Big jump from watching a service online to signing up for a course.
11. Work hard at making Sunday services accessible.
12. Consider running an online events week. Release a series of videos during the week: Lunchtime 5-7 minutes apologetic talk; Evening – 10 minutes interviews with members of the church family with some link to the apologetic talk.
13. Encourage members of the church to share links to videos and services on social media.
14. In preaching give applications to non-Christians and when we pray together give time to praying for non-Christians.
15. If we are not living godly lives, we undermine the gospel. John Newton: “The world will judge more by what they see in you, than by what they hear from me.”
16. When sharing Christian stuff on social media post really short videos – 2-3 minutes long max.
17. Three questions to initiate personal evangelism: Do you have any particular beliefs? Have you ever read the Bible? Would you like to look at the Bible with me?
18. Most non-Christians in UK are more likely to be ignorant of the gospel than anti-gospel.
19. When stop asking for opportunities to share the gospel, they are less likely to come, or you are less likely to be aware of them.