This is a surreal time for people all over the world.
We are living through a sudden break from much of our normal life. It’s a time of social, economic and physical crisis. And the relational connections we rely on are either gone or have moved to video-calling platforms.
Because of this, people are searching for answers. They have old questions they’ve put off asking, and new questions they’ve never asked before.
As Christians, we’ve asked those questions and found answers in Jesus Christ. You may be asking your questions again in a deeper way. But your life with God provides you with a framework and a source of life, power and truth.
But what about those who do not know Jesus personally?
Amid all the bad news in the headlines, the good news of Jesus Christ is more relevant than ever. It’s no coincidence that the biggest week of the year for telling people about Jesus is happening in the midst of this global slowing of life.
This year the relevancy of the message of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection will hit ears, eyes and hearts in ways it never has. So let’s not miss the opportunity to have conversations about these things.
So what can we do this year to make sure that more people know why Easter matters?
Make time for thinking about people God wants you to focus on
The “extra” or “leftover” time we have outside our core commitments is often the time we dedicate to developing a personal ministry with the people in our lives. It’s easy to get to the end of the day and realize you missed an opportunity to connect because you had to press on and get to the next thing.
But one side effect of the coronavirus may be that you have more time and margin than during previous Easter seasons. This is an opportunity to name the people God has put in your life, so that you can begin figuring out who God wants you to focus on.
Start with praying and asking God who those people are for you. You can use the MissionHub app to make a list of people you feel God is calling you to focus on. Then identify where you think they are on their spiritual journey.
If you already have a list, set notifications in the app to remind you about the steps of faith you want to take with those people as Easter approaches.
Next, think about how you’re going to interact with people. You cannot go for coffee or a walk in the park as you might normally. But during Covid-19 the hunger for personal connection has made video and phone calls a big part of most people’s everyday life. Let the people on your list know that you love them, are thinking about them and are there for them.
People you know, who were uninterested in the Christian faith two months ago, might now be suddenly curious about the Easter story. They might also be curious about how your faith influences the way you are experiencing the same crisis they are going through. Many who have prayed the prayer of faith, but who have not yet taken steps to grow spiritually, are hungry to know more about Easter and its meaning for their lives.
My neighbor Steve “went big” and put out a note to his neighborhood on the app NextDoor. He shared his phone number and said he was available to listen, pray or talk. That might not be the strategy you choose, but making yourself available is a step of faith you can take with people in your life.
Think about what people in your life need over Easter
As you interact with people, ask God, “What does this person need?” It might help to think in terms of the three things — prayer, care and share — that MissionHub highlights in the steps of faith you choose inside the app.
Be ready to offer prayer and to pray out loud with someone on the phone or in a video call. You can even pray six feet away from each other outside the person’s apartment or house. Your faith-filled prayer in response to someone’s felt needs will encourage that person, and you’ll play a part in inviting God’s influence into his or her life. So pray that the people you talk with will know the hope of life and forgiveness that is the essence of the Easter story.
Acts of love and service are powerful right now. Remember Jesus saying that he came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.
Generosity is especially relevant right now. People are understandably tempted to hoard whatever they fear going without if things get worse. So is there something you can give to the people on your list that they need? Can you invite another believer to join you in volunteering somewhere during the coronavirus pandemic?
Two creative MissionHub users decided to bring each neighbor a roll of toilet paper and an encouraging note.
As people isolate or hoard in a time of fear, your generosity and boldness says you are driven by your faith, not your fears.
Easter is a moment and a message rolled into one. So as Easter arrives, with everything going on around it this year, how can you share the message behind the moment?
When I was in London in the summer of 2019 I was impressed to see the words of Jesus on the sides of the famous red double-decker buses. Phrases like “Today you will be with me in paradise” and “Look, I am coming soon” literally moved throughout the city. Anyone who lived or worked in London or happened to be visiting had the chance to read Christ’s life-changing statements.
It was intended to provoke conversations about Jesus.
One year later there is something else provoking conversations about faith. People are sick and dying all around the world. And inevitably it causes us to consider issues of life after death.
As you listen and answer questions, be ready to share the truth of the message of Jesus. What happened at Easter and why did it have to happen? What difference has knowing the truth about Jesus made in your life? Now more than ever we must prepare to answer questions like these.
If you need more confidence in talking about what you believe, check out the “Teach Me to Share” feature of the GodTools app.
Make this Easter a week to remember for more than COVID-19
This is a week when people are desperate for good news.
One of the most popular recent videos on the internet is the simple effort of actor John Krasinski. He developed a home-video project called “Some Good News” with his daughter and his wife, the actress Emily Blunt. He simply talks to the camera in a faux-reporter style and shows clips from news and the internet. Most importantly, he talks about the good things people are doing in the midst of the pandemic.
People want good news. They are hungry for good news. You have the best news ever, but do the people around you know it?
As we focus on staying connected to the people God has placed in our lives, we help them connect with him.
Set it in your heart and in your calendar to take steps of faith this week. Use your God-given creativity to spread the good news of Jesus and of the kingdom of resurrection life.
For more ideas about responding to the challenges of this moment, read Covid-19: How will you connect in a time of self-isolation?