Monday, January 26, 2015

Long Distance Evangelism

A few weeks ago, Helene talked about reaching out to share the gospel with the people we see every day. I agree 100% that that is the best way to start the hard job of evangelism.  Yet, as she listed the people  in our lives we could tell about Jesus, I realized that I had very few people close to me (geographically) that fit the bill.  We moved to this state three years ago, and the only friends I've really made are church members. Today we'll share some tips and tricks for sharing the gospel with people who are close to our hearts, but may not be close to our homes. 

  • The same guidelines you would follow in face to face evangelism apply here too. When sharing the gospel with someone close by, you want to be in the business of building a relationship. The same thing goes when you are sharing with someone far away.  I wouldn't send a Facebook message to a high school classmate I haven't seen in years, immediately ask her about her salvation and expect a positive response.  Instead, I would carefully show her how much I care about her and her life, and look for good openings to talk to her about Jesus.  While I can't make her cookies or have her over for coffee, I can use the internet, phone, or letters to send messages of encouragement.

  • The world wide web and all it comes with (FacComputer-blueebook, Pinterest, email, blogging) can be fantastic tools for sharing the gospel.  They can also be the way we ruin our witness before we begin.  Think about all the people you have known in your life that you keep up with via the internet.  I have friends I haven't seen in years, but I assume a lot of things about them based on my News Feed.  Even though an online persona may not match their true hearts, we still make those assumptions.  It goes both ways, folks.  If I share negativity on the internet, people who see it will think I'm a negative person.  In that case, who would want to hear the good news of the gospel from me?  Think before you post.

  • Once you have established a relationship with someone (or maybe you already have one!), evangelism can be much the same over Facebook, email, snail mail, or the phone as it is face to face.  Do you like to do Bible studies?  There are many ways to do those long distance.  Snail mail correspondence courses with a personal letter are one way.  Skyping for a more real time experience is another.  Helene and I have talked Bible over the phone many times.  If you are a more organic kind of evangelist, who looks for just the right opening to share your love Jesus, Facebook is a great place to be.  People share a lot about their lives on social media, and opportunities to share your faith in these situations are numerous.  Just make sure you do so in a private message.  In either case, make sure that people on social media know they can come to you with questions and you will answer without judgment (1 Peter 3:15).
We live in a shrinking world, and although it may be tempting to decry how much has changed, I'd prefer to see the positives.  We can instantly contact people all over the world.  Paul sailed all over the known world to share the gospel; we can reach even more people from our own homes.  I would encourage you not to waste these gifts God has given us! 


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