Evangelising well in a pandemic
COVID-19 has changed life as we knew it. It’s also changed the landscape of Church Army’s frontline work - meeting the needs of their communities by, yes, transferring groups and activities online, but also responding to the issues arising which have been specific to living through a pandemic.
We are meeting so many people who are desperately afraid – afraid of their loved ones dying, of dying themselves, of how to navigate a world of one-way systems and face coverings, or of how they will cope if they’re stuck at home without meaningful connections.
Church Army Evangelists are sharing the Good News in the face of this fear. The power of Jesus’ peace, His unconditional love, the incredible joy of knowing God, and the knowledge that there is more to this life and the next, remains as true as ever.
How this works on the ground is through a mix of…
Practically serving people in a huge variety of ways – like Simon Cake, A7 Centre of Mission in Scotland, who’s been making and received numerous phone calls with those finding lockdown hard and feel isolated. He’s been negotiating conducting funerals whilst restrictions remain in place and trying to make them as meaningful as possible. Like the majority of our centres of mission, they’re also meeting a huge increase in hunger (read more on how we’re Fighting Hunger).
Making it clear that our provision is because of God’s love and goodness
Building good relationships virtually with people we’ve never met but are longing to be part of a community network – like Andy, Gloucester & Forest Centre of Mission, has been connecting with people over a new Facebook page where he frequently posts videos which are being shared by local people and so reaching new audiences who are in turn engaging with the videos - 80% of Facebook page likes are from people not known personally by the team.
Facilitating meaningful discipleship so that those who have instinctively run towards God as they face the crisis would have a faith that is rooted and develops now and beyond the pandemic – like Ruth Hills, Southampton Centre of Mission, who has set up a virtual group for local mums who want a chance to connect, but also want some spiritual input.
Whilst so much has had to come to a standstill over the last few months, Church Army’s frontline work has not been standing still. We are as committed as ever to share the Good News of Jesus to people in a way that is sensitive to people’s situations and culturally relevant.
If you'd like to support Church Army as we continue to serve communities across the UK & Ireland, please donate online now.
Watch the COVID-19 Diaries to hear more about how our frontline staff have adapted their activities and support for their communities during the pandemic.
Read more stories of transformation in other areas of our work here.