The “Reimagine” project seeks to apply New Testament principles to present-day modes of church practice.
How will you reimagine your evangelism ministry to meet the realities of our current situation? What innovative practices can you utilize while still upholding the core teachings found in Scripture? Below you will find some information, tools and resources to help you begin to reimagine.
COVID-19 has affected evangelism significantly in two primary ways. First, it’s driven people online, leading to more misinformation and loneliness than possibly ever before. Second, it’s done away with the illusion that large-group gatherings alone are sufficient to inspire, train and mobilize disciple-makers.
At a basic level, evangelism is the announcement of good news. More particularly, it’s good news that concerns the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This good news has implications for the whole world, for all time. Though the world has changed drastically in recent months, those implications have not.
As the world eventually re-emerges from COVID-19, things will not go back to the way things were. Two challenges that the post-pandemic church will face are recapturing trust in their communities and telling compelling stories creatively. The coronavirus, along with political, social and racial issues, has caused many people to become disillusioned with the church and desirous of real hope.
Evangelism cannot mimic political pandering, consumer advertising or illogical reasoning. To recapture trust, evangelism must coincide with a community of faith demonstrating a counter-cultural way to live that includes suffering well, doing good and having a reasoned faith. Those characteristics should, in turn, produce real hope that makes sense of the world we are experiencing and offer something far better than all other alternatives.
Tips & Tools
Training and modeling are important. More than teaching people an evangelistic script, it is critical that churches train their people in worldview, theology, logic, conversation and the ministry of prayer. This sort of equipping requires accountability, love, patience and wonder so that evangelism becomes less presentational and more incarnational. It becomes less about “let’s get them saved” and more about “taste and see that the Lord is good.” This approach must be consistently practiced by, and modeled for, disciples. A pilot group is a great place to explore and live out these things.
How can we reimagine evangelism? Consider developing an assessment to be used in interviews with each member of your church. (A basic example is available here.) By analyzing responses to these assessments, the church can identify common themes and develop plans for training, modeling, participation and ongoing follow-up to enable growth in both holiness and mission in decentralized communities.
Tips & Tools
Another tool is the “Gap” tool, which assesses people’s willingness to share their faith and their confidence in sharing their faith. The assessment helps discover why “gaps” exist between desire and confidence.