Seize This Fall for Evangelism
Interest in Bible prophecy may be the highest it’s been in a generation. Search terms for End Times, Book of Revelation, and End of the World have reached recent highs, while searches for the term Second Coming have spiked to their highest level in over a decade. In the midst of a global health pandemic, economic crisis and social unrest, people in your community right now are asking questions: What’s going on here? Did the Bible predict this? What does the future hold?
These are questions that your local church is positioned to answer.
Here at SermonView, we also have seen a dramatic increase in activity. We’ve provided churches with over 3,000 requests for Bible studies in just three months. People are hungry for answers.
Now is the time to use this wave of interest to reach your community with the Everlasting Gospel.
Even if all of the evidence points us to an amazing time to fulfill our mission, how do we move forward in the midst of a moratorium on public gatherings? And even if doors can open, will people come out before the coronavirus is contained?
Planning for Effective Evangelism This Fall
Reaping events are about engagement. And we all know that engagement is best built through in-person connections. However, we have seen that you can also build engagement using digital methods, as long as certain elements are in place.
Here is a look at the three methods we believe will help a local church create an evangelism program that maximizes engagement.
- Hold local church evangelistic meetings online. Churches that have a strong A/V team should consider hosting a speaker for an online meeting. We recommend Zoom as a platform, because it has a good mix of features useful for online evangelistic meetings. It’s a great choice for churches who have been using it for weekly worship, since people have gotten a lot more comfortable with that technology over the last three months.
This is an especially good option if your church already has a multi-camera setup. In that case, plan to do the preaching from church with your video team and broadcast it through Zoom. The key to an effective, local online meeting is to utilize interactive elements and pace your meetings differently than you would in person.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing detailed instructions for how to use Zoom for local evangelistic meetings.
- Join national evangelistic meetings online. This would be similar to a Net meeting from the 90’s, but instead of bringing people to the church for the meeting you would hold it via Zoom. In this case, you would have a local moderator introducing the meeting, then switch to either a live stream or a pre-recorded video played over Zoom.
The key here is that you don’t want to use content available on 3ABN or Hope TV, because you want both guests and members to participate through Zoom’s interactive experience. Your church should have its own Zoom meeting, so you keep your local attendees all together. Zoom gives you the information you need to track attendance, and you can use the chat and poll systems to add a local interactive element to the meeting. You can also break groups down even farther by using Zoom’s breakout room feature.
As for meeting content, we are assembling a list of evangelistic content options, and will publish that as soon as we have confirmed speakers and dates for this fall.
- Give personal Bible studies. Maybe you cannot put together a high-quality, evangelistic series online, and maybe you don’t even have the means to host content from someone else. In that case, you are not off the hook! Consider hosting small group or personal Bible studies—either in homes or online.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, new online approaches to the old Bible study card mailing were proving to be more effective at introducing people to Adventist truth. And now we are seeing even better results. Many churches are seeing the benefit of building relationships with interested families and connecting them to church leaders near their homes. This approach has lower friction at the start and can be expanded easily to personal visits and interpersonal connections.
For some churches, this may be the best use of their evangelism marketing dollars. Whether you use our year-long InterestGenerator program, which guarantees new Bible study interests every month, or a shorter campaign focused on the fall season, you’ll hear from people eager to study the Bible with you. At that point, you can follow up by phone or email and set up a time to have a Zoom Bible study or invite them to a small group Bible study.
Now is the Time
Right now, people in your community have questions. The Bible has answers. Make plans now to seize this fall for evangelism.
Of course, it needs to be stated that more than just COVID-19 is plaguing our country. We’re also in a season of social unrest responding to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others. We believe it is appropriate for Seventh-day Adventists to join the efforts fighting injustice, discrimination and racism in our society. Two weeks ago, my own family and members of the SermonView crew joined our Adventist brothers and sisters of color for a Juneteenth march through the streets of Portland. And I’m proud to see our denominational leaders responding in so many positive ways. There is crucial antiracism work to do, and we should leverage this moment to effect lasting change.
At the same time, we can’t ignore this great wave of interest in Bible prophecy. There are people in your community, ripe to hear the Three Angels’ Message that only you can bring. As I’ve written before, we need to reject the tyranny of the “or” and embrace the genius of the “and.” We shouldn’t look at compassion versus public evangelism. The healthiest churches do both.
So start planning your fall outreach right now. Whether you do your own online meetings, participate in coordinated meetings with other churches, or simply focus on generating interest in one-on-one or small group Bible studies, you’ll be seizing this fall to reach the people whom God has already prepared for your message.
Together, let’s grow the Kingdom!