The global spread of COVID-19 has required ministries to change the way they operate. Many conferences, trainings, meetings, and other in-person gatherings are being canceled. Some churches have stopped meeting face to face. Many ministries are no longer sending missionaries onto campuses and some entire nations have gone into lockdown.
But the mission God has called us to hasn’t changed. Jesus Christ offers life and peace in a world consumed with fear and death. In this rapidly changing environment, we need to be able to pivot.
Here are some ways that digital strategies can be used to accomplish the mission in new ways.
Instead of hosting large conferences and in-person training events, digital platforms can be used to convey the same information and mobilize the same groups at a distance. Rather than sending people out onto campuses or other physical locations, volunteers can be mobilized online.
You don’t need a large group to make an impact. With digital, one person can make an impact all around the world.
The Mentor Ministry - More online mentors are needed - currently over 450 messages waiting to be answered. With online mentoring, anyone can make an impact by simply answering an email. See the site created by Power to Change Canada - https://tmm.io.
Meet online using Zoom, Google Hangout, Skype, etc. You’re already doing this, but let’s make this as regular and routine part of our dispersed missionary movement.
Bible storytelling - Hear a story, learn the story and discuss the story in a small group.
What would you say to people who are fearful and confused about COVID-19? Here are some ideas about the content relevant to this situation. You can use these or brainstorm your own to reach an audience searching for answers.
Laying down one’s privileges for the sake of others and protecting those who are vulnerable - this is who Jesus is and let's call others to be like this. Many hoard resources and look out for themselves, but we are called to sacrifice and serve. (Example: Don’t take all the masks so that medical personnel can use them.) Describing this Christian ethos to a world that is skeptical about it — we need people to be like this. We have the potential to make a similar impact to the Christians ministering to sick people during the times of the plague.
Do ad campaigns around hope, peace, etc. These keywords circumvent advertising filters many platforms have that don’t allow advertising around social issues or religion.
Look at articles or content you already have and make small changes to connect them to COVID-19. The issues are the same as they have always been: fear, shame, boredom, is there a God, and even family issues as people argue and have different opinions.
In Ghana, the team put together a simple journey by placing an ad on social media that invited people to sign up for more info on the virus. Those who responded were then offered the chance to learn more about Jesus or connect with an online mentor through chat if they had questions or were feeling anxious.
Prayer Guide - adapted from Pray Singapore
Here are some existing evangelistic articles that are relevant to the COVID-19 situation. Share these and incorporate them into your digital strategies.
“Coronavirus: How to deal with anxiety” EveryStudent
GodTools - Use this evangelistic app to simply and clearly explain to someone how they can begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ (available in 84 languages). The "Teach Me to Share" tool has some examples of how to get into a conversation about the gospel (available in 14 languages).
Jesus Film App - 200 films and clips in 1,700+ languages, a full digital library of more than 200 full-length movies, miniseries, and short films to help the world know Jesus.
MissionHub - MissionHub helps you be intentional with your everyday relationships by taking the next best step to help others experience God.
As you seek to minister to people during the current COVID-19 situation, here are some articles that provide inspiration or helpful insight.
"This [COVID-19] is a defining moment of discipleship." (Salt and Light)
The Power of Words: Coronavirus fears – reality or perceived reality? (INContext International)
If you have new ideas to contribute, add them here!
Special thanks to our worldwide group of 150 digital champions for sharing their expertise.
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