close

News

Making the most of the times II

By Gerry Straker, 03 Apr 2020

Making the most of the times II

Yesterday, we were reminded that we want to make the most of the times. Here are some of the practical ideas from Wednesday night along with a few new ones.

Obviously, we need to do our very best to follow government advice. We're to stay at home unless we have a 'reasonable excuse' which includes exercise (suggested once a day); shopping for basic necessities (as infrequently as possible); medical need, or emergency, or to provide care or help for a vulnerable person; and travel to or from work, but only when you cannot work from home. Other reasons include: key workers taking children to childcare, and children's access arrangements. If we go outside, then we are to be more than 2m apart from anyone other than members of your own household. Gatherings of more than two people not from the same household are banned.

However, we are still disciple makers, redeeming the time to bring people to know Jesus. Bearing in mind the advice, we can still get to know people, invite people to hear the gospel, and talk to them about our Lord and Saviour!

1. Getting to know people

It is hard to meet new people. But here’s what you could do…

  • Wave out your window to people on their exercise.
  • Stand in the doorway/or on the path and call out to a neighbour.
  • Be in your yard or garden and say hello to neighbours or passers by.
  • Join the 'Clap for our Carers' next Thursday at 8pm outside your front door and shout some greetings to others nearby.
  • If you’re not in isolation, offer help to those who are on your street, with a note through the door, like this one:
    • Hi, My name’s ____________, I live at _______. Just wanted to say “Hi” and say that in these uncertain times if you need anything just get in touch. My number is:_____________. Also I go to Church by the Bay. We’re currently live streaming our services on our website you’d be welcome to listen: churchbythebay.org.uk/resources/live-stream/
  • If you are in isolation, why not accept help from an unbelieving neighbour who offers it? Enjoy what theologians call ‘common grace’. God’s kindness in the world. And start building a new friendship!
  • If you are having shopping delivered, why not buy a treat for the delivery driver? Wipe it down with an antibacterial wipe and hand it back to him or her.
  • If you are visiting a shop, look out for people to be kind to. You might be able to start a kind conversation with someone.
  • Write a thank you note and leave on your bins for the bin men.
  • Ask children to do drawings for Park View or other elderly neighbours. Laminate them so they can be wiped down!
  • What other ideas do you have? Let us know

2. Inviting people

I’d really encourage you to make the most of what we’re doing! People are worried - we have peace. People keep hearing bad news - we have proper good news!

  • You could put this Church by the Bay poster in your window for those walking by. Or perhaps in your car window.
  • You could use email / Facebook / WhatsApp / text to invite people to Sunday’s livestream. (We’ve had lots of guests so far).
  • Who can you ‘bring’ to Pop up Café on Facebook on Tuesday? 
  • Make the most of our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Like stuff, comment, invite people to see it.
  • Keep reading this blog! Point particular people to particular articles that might suit them. For instance:
  • Drop a note. Here’s an example. Feel free to tweak to fit.
    • Dear [Insert Name] In these unsettling times, I want to tell you about the God who cares. I know God cares, because he sent Jesus into this world of suffering and disease and death, and Jesus showed he could do something about it! As you know all our events are sadly postponed at the moment, and we are not even able to meet on Sunday mornings for Church. However, there are a number of ways my Church, Church by the Bay, can help you, if you would like!
      • We are able to livestream our Church service and a Wednesday evening meeting, and we would be delighted if you would like to join us! If you would like to borrow an NIV 1984 Church Bible, let me know and we'll try and drop one round.
      • Second, we have a Church Blog (this very thing!) with various articles on that we pray will be of use to you.
      • Third, we are sending out an email with updates and prayer points on daily at 5:30pm. Let me know if you would like to receive these emails.
      • Fourth, if you need any practical help, we have people who are not ill and not vulnerable who are ready to help!
      • Finally if you have any prayer requests or questions about what we believe, please do get in touch, I would be delighted.
        All the very best, and hope to hear from you soon, [Your name]
  • Or you can phone people to invite people to our livestream, our blog, our daily email, offer help and offer prayer.
  • And then there’s the below evangelistic talk on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Who could you send this to?

3. Conversations with people

  • Some of us are in lockdown with unbelievers, like Paul the apostle. This is the perfect time to live for Jesus in front of family. Speak of your hope, your lack of fear, and the good news that you have for a bigger crisis!
  • Some of you are key workers - working in schools, nurseries and pharmacies and in people’s homes - opportunities for conversations abound!
  • Some of you with more time, what about rekindling old friendships? Write someone a letter being bold with the gospel. Pick up the phone.
  • Most of us could get in touch with someone who has been to church in the past or came to an event.

So what are we’re going to say to people? You could start with…

  • How the times are quite uncertain/scary/crazy.
  • Asking how they’re doing.
  • Share what’s going on with you.
  • Offer help.

Here are some of Pam’s springboard sentences…

  • This whole thing might seem a bit scary but I really do believe that God is in control.
  • Makes you think what a mess the world is in doesn’t it? You know I really believe one day there’ll be no more illness in this world.
  • This virus has made me pray more. If you’d like to pray about something let me know.
  • You know it’s funny we’re all really quite weak aren’t we?
  • Everyone’s the same really aren’t they – we can all get Coronavirus.
  • We love to be in control – that’s why everyone is getting so anxious don’t you think?
  • Actually I’m not really that worried about it...

Ask if people will look at Mark’s gospel with you, online, on the phone, give them the verses that we’ve learnt.

Ask a question… can I just ask:

  • Did you know that Christianity is good news about a person? (Mark 1:1)
  • Did you know that Christianity’s claim is that Jesus is God on earth come to help us? (Mark 4:41)
  • Did you know that Jesus says we have a really big problem bigger than the coronavirus? (Mark 7:23)

And if you send them the talk below… that will get you some conversations I would think!

Finally, if you need any resources, let us know whether Mark’s gospels, church postcards, posters, or envelopes - we can get them to you.

Prayer

We can all pray. We’re commanded to pray for gospel opportunities. And God hears our prayers; and God answers prayers – not always in the way we expect.

  • For us to take the initiative in getting to know people with kindness and conversations.
  • For people living with unbelievers.
  • For key workers having lots of conversations.
  • For boldness to invite people to listen on Sunday or send the evangelistic talk.
  • For the rekindling of old friendships.
  • For chances to speak again about Jesus with those who’ve heard the gospel before.
  • For help to listen to people.
  • Courage and wisdom to actually speak about the Lord Jesus and His cross.
  • That our friends would “wake up” to the coming judgement, the bigger crisis.