“We have a very small window of opportunity here,” says Wendy Phodi, the Southeast Asia Manager for CV. Phodi recently spoke at the Asian edition of Indigitous’ “Ministry from a Distance” webinar. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the ministry has reported a spike in usage of its digital evangelism content on yesHEis, including a 43% increase in content sharing globally. Since the Philippines and Indonesia went into lockdown, sharing has increased 51% and 50%, respectively. In a situation like this, “a lot of people are eager to share content,” Phodi says.
So how do you effectively have Gospel conversations at a time like this? For CV, there are always three simple things to do: Pray, care, and share.
Pray. Right now, people are more willing to open up about their issues, family and employment problems, their fears, and more. That presents a great opportunity to pray for them and to offer to pray with them.
Care. People aren’t generally interested in what you have to say until they know you actually care about them. Ask how they’re doing and how you can help. Try to help meet their physical and emotional needs as well as spiritual needs, if you can. That can include ordering food for someone in need, Phodi says.
Share. Sharing the Gospel is the next step. People are more open to such conversations right now as they are in fear and searching for hope. “This is about hope for their life,” Phodi says.
“Let’s start a pandemic of love that will bring hope to those people and will bring them to faith of Jesus.”Wendy Phodi
One way of sharing the Gospel at a distance is by using the free yesHeis app. The app is designed to serve as a personal evangelism assistant to help you live life on mission. It includes inspiring articles and evangelism tips, an activity plan, weekly Gospel videos, and an online community.
For those not sure about how to have these conversations at a distance, Phodi recommends these steps: probe, process, present, and pray.
Probe. “Ask open-ended questions,” Phodi suggests. “How are you doing? How’s your social isolation going? What do you do with this time?” Asking questions invites them into the conversation.
Process. Don’t go straight from your probing questions to sharing the Gospel. Instead, allow them to process their feelings and situation. This shows you care and also helps get them in the correct mind space.
Present. Share the Gospel or your own testimony. “You’re having problems also in social isolation,” Phodi says, so sharing your own story and how you’re dealing with the situation can help.
Pray. Whether you call them, type out your prayer in a text message, or meet on Zoom, praying with the person can be huge. During a crisis, few people will turn down a request to pray for them. You can also make the Gospel part of your prayer, Phodi says.
In addition to the yesHEis app, CV also has a curated collection of evangelistic videos to share. The videos are tagged and sorted by topic, so you can find one that is relevant for your situation. The videos are currently available in 10 languages, but Phodi also encourages you to download and do your own voiceover if they don’t have the language you need.
At this point, only God knows how long the pandemic will last, how long countries will be on lockdown, and how long people will have an increased interest in content centered around faith and hope. “Business is not as usual now,” Phodi says. “We never know how long the window of opportunity will be, so let’s start a pandemic of love that will bring hope to those people and will bring them to faith of Jesus.”