Gospel Presentation Can Have an Eternal Impact During Crisis

“The Internet never forgets,” says Edric Sng, Deputy Senior Pastor at Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church in Singapore. Edric recently spoke about how to make an eternal impact during an Indigitous Ministry from a Distance Webinar. During this time of quarantine and social isolation, where churches for the most part aren’t meeting in person in a building, geographic boundaries are no more. People joining church services online can join one from any part of the world. It also means that the messages shared during the church service will last forever.

During this crisis, the church has an opportunity to reach a larger audience. This is especially true because people who are confined to their homes that never would have gone to a church in person may be willing to join one online. We know that online searches for spiritual topics have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. That means the church has an incredible opportunity to reach those they couldn’t reach with in-person services.

Hansel and Gretel

To illustrate what he has learned during the pandemic, Edric uses the example of the fairytale Hansel and Gretel. The story is set during a famine and Hansel and Gretel’s father and stepmother, unable to feed the whole family, decide to abandon the children in the forest. Overhearing this plan, the children gather pebbles and stuff them in their pockets. As their father takes them deep into the woods, Hansel lays down a trail of pebbles, marking the way back home. After their father disappears, they follow the trail back home and rejoin their parents. When the famine worsens, the parents decide again to abandon the children, with the stepmother this time locking them in their room the night before so they can’t gather any rocks. The next morning, when they are led back into the forest, having no pebbles, Hansel crumbles up small pieces of bread and leaves it as a trail. After birds eat the bread, though, their trail is gone and they can’t find their way back home.

To Edric, that fairytale gives a glimpse of how we must treat our time on earth. The end times have become a hot topic during the pandemic, being one of the most commonly searched faith topics. “We’re comparing the headlines in the newspaper to the lines in our Bible, and we’re all trying to figure out how near is the day” Edric says. A recent LifeWay study found that nine out of ten pastors see at least some current events matching those that Jesus said would happen shortly before His return to earth.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to dive deep into end times theology here. Christianity has many different interpretations of the book of Revelation and how the end times will play out. One popular interpretation, and the one Edric subscribes to, is the rapture will occur prior to the tribulation, when all followers of Jesus are taken to Heaven, leaving no Christ-followers on earth. For those who are left behind, it is important for Christians to leave behind that which will make an eternal impact. For Edric, this goes back to the story of Hansel and Gretel.

“If you drop crumbs that don’t last, people can never be led anywhere,” he says. What the church needs to do now is leave a trail of rocks that won’t be eaten by birds or degrade over time. “Every single message, more than ever before, is being recorded,” he says. That gives an opportunity for the message to be seen by more people over a longer period of time.

Making an impact

Even if there is no rapture, everyone only has a limited time on earth. Every follower of Jesus, however, has the ability to make an impact that lasts an eternity. We can do that by leaving behind a trail of rocks that won’t disappear when we do. We leave that trail with how we treat others, with what we say about God, with the relationships we form, and more. That which we record can be shared with others, be passed down, or even go viral (in the good way).

Throughout the church’s history, technology has been used further the Gospel, widen its reach, and make a lasting impact. From the Roman roads to the printing press and beyond, God has used technology. Today we have the ability to broadcast videos of sermons across the globe, create lasting podcasts, share about Jesus on social media, and more.

“Make sure you drop that trail in everything you’re doing right now,” Edric says. For those who aren’t pastors or in vocational ministry, social media can be your pulpit. Many people struggle with the question of whether anything they’ve done has made a difference. If you are sharing the Gospel, whether personally or on digital channels, you can have an impact that will be felt long after you’re gone from this earth.

Editor’s note: Edric Sng is Deputy Senior Pastor of Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church in Singapore as well as editor of Thirst and Salt & Light.