Skip to main content

rethink

evangelism

RETHINK HOME

Why COVID-19 Has Impacted Evangelism

Southern Baptists have always been known for their emphasis on evangelism, particularly personal evangelism. It’s what Southern Baptists hang their hat on and take great pride in. However, in the COVID-19 season evangelism has shifted and seems anything but personal—it’s becoming more broad and digital. 

Churches are opening back up and things are moving toward normalcy, but still COVID-19 has made its impact on the church and evangelism. Here’s how: 

It exposed church’s evangelism equipping

The church was officially locked out of her building. The church was forced to mobilize and every church’s disciple-making strategy was brought to the forefront. How well was the church walking with God, communing, and seeking a lost and broken world without the consistent accountability of in-person encounters with church ministers? 

No one could predict this would happen or exactly how to equip the church for this, but it nonetheless revealed the true heartbeat of most congregations. Churches were forced to ask: did we just impart evangelistic methods, or did we teach them to have an evangelistic heart? 

It opened the church’s hands

COVID-19 has forced churches to hold their methods loosely and their principles tightly. Traditional personal evangelism encounters largely disappeared over these past months. The need for social distancing has also made it very difficult to engage strangers with the gospel. Churches have needed to use less personal means such as social media for evangelism. The pandemic forced churches to innovate and transform their methodologies. 

It showed churches their potential

Churches have begun to engage a wider audience and people who had never heard the gospel before are now hearing it. The people who would never step into a church building are now hearing sermons and Bible teaching through social media. Many churches realized that online ministry is real ministry as many have seen people saved through their digital content. 

It’s been said before that your digital presence is the front door of your ministry. The COVID-19 pandemic has solidified that and opened the doors for a wider audience in every local congregation. The church now has a greater potential to reach and engage lost people.

Practical Guidance

Digital Evangelism

Digital methods offer an emerging way to do evangelism. The church has the ability to reach the people on the fringe. Generally, most churches only have the possibility of reaching 40 percent of the people in their community. This number specifically points out people that might step foot in a church, or the “low hanging fruit.” However, there is 60 percent of your community that may never step foot in your church. Digital evangelism is a church’s opportunity to reach the larger piece of the community pie. pastedGraphic_1.png 

Personal Evangelism Equipping

Churches need to consider how they are helping their people do personal evangelism in both a physical and digital format. There are countless resources available for in-person evangelism. However, there are not many resources on how to train your people in a digital format. Consider holding a completely digital training, which will begin to help people navigate online relationships, conversations, and posting. People are often more confident sharing the gospel online than they are in person. 

This would be a great time to gather the tech-savvy church members. These are probably the younger people in your church. Hold a brainstorming session on how your church can leverage online platforms to share the gospel. 

Assimilation

As churches ramp up their digital evangelism, follow-up is essential. Churches need to create a simple, easy-to-follow pathway for someone to know Christ and be assimilated into the church. Imagine if you were a stranger being introduced to your church: what are the things you need to know? What are the answers you need in order to feel like you’re ready to enter this new environment of people? 

If someone had a follow-up question after a sermon, what is their next step? If they needed counsel, how do they contact the church? If someone receives Christ, whom do they let know about their decision from the church? If they do accept Christ, what is the next step in their discipleship? 

Creating Movement

Shift from methods to principles

We have seen culture change rapidly during the COVID-19 season. When a church thinks about principles over methods it allows a church to stay nimble to cultural changes. 

An example of methods would include outreach events, door-to-door evangelism, and in-person evangelism. An example of principles would include the gospel of Jesus Christ, speaking the gospel, and blessing people as a bridge to the gospel. Different methods can be effective in different communities. 

However, circumstances can strip a church of its methods, leaving it without the ability to share the gospel how it used to. Sticking to the principles of the gospel allows a church to shift in its methodology but not lose its principles. 

Shift from viewers to engagement

An increase of your online views is wonderful and that metric does tell you something. People in some way or form are seeing your videos. However, these video views might be only a couple of seconds long. The key metric to know if what you’re doing is making a difference is engagement. 

Are people “liking” your content? Are people commenting on your content? Are people sharing your content? These are all metrics of engagement that will help you know if people really are getting involved in the content you’re producing. 

Personalize Evangelism

  • What are the ways your church is doing digital evangelism? 
  • How is it viewed through the eyes of a person who is unchurched? 
  • Are you getting engagement from lost people in the community? 
  • How are you training your people in personal evangelism?

Connect With Us

The SBTC Evangelism team exists to help churches in their effort to share the gospel in their church, community, and across the world. We do this by offering resources in the area of personal evangelism, language evangelism, apologetics, disaster relief, and various events. If you have questions or need resources don’t hesitate to contact us.

evangelism blog posts

other covid-19 resources

COVID-19

regathering

regathering part II:

Leadership Toolkit

video conferences