The following is from the Pocket Testament League (ptl.org)
7 Ways to share Christ while practicing socially distancing
1. Be a good neighbor.
Take a prayer walk around your neighborhood. Maintain a healthy distance from others, but encourage those you see along the way with a kind word, smile, let them know that you’ll be praying for them and that you’re there if they need anything.
2. Share the wealth.
If you are stocked up with food and toilet paper, look for those in need. Put a flyer up near your community’s mailboxes or on neighborhood Facebook group and let people know that you have extras or are healthy enough to go on supply runs for those in need. When you share your supplies, share a pocket-sized Gospel, too.
3. FaceTime story time with Mini BFFs.
If your friends have young ones stuck at home, FaceTime them and read them a story. Bonus points if it’s a Bible story. Teach them your old-school favorite Sunday school songs. Let them know that you and Jesus love them. Your friends will get a short break, you’ll get entertained, and the kids will have a break from boredom.
4. Bless the delivery guys.
If you are ordering delivery food or supplies, bless the delivery guys. Leave a basket of bottled drinks, snacks and pocket-sized Gospels by the door with a Thank You and Please Enjoy note.
5. Get Crafty!
Many adults and kids love getting crafty! Get out the art supplies and make cards. If you have stamps and envelopes, mail them out and add a gospel too! Or hand-make cards and projects you can leave on the doorsteps of neighbors and friends.
6. Consider the lonely.
Who do you know that’s elderly or single that may be feeling extra lonely these days? Call, text, FaceTime, drive by and wave from the car. A smile, silly song or conversation may be exactly what this person needs.
7. Leave a supply!
At the grocery store, community entrance or outside your front door, leave a supply of Gospels with a note that says “Take one for free… it could save your life!”
Keep the faith. Keep reading and sharing God's Word! Be safe and follow the national guidelines for social distancing. And if you're sick or don't have a supply of Gospels on hand, check out our NEW digital Gospel. -PTL
What an encouragement from PTL! I love learning how others are sharing the Good News; especially during times when person to person contact is so limited. Can you add to this list? Please do so by commenting below. -Toby
Christy and I spent the last two days in Lexington with bivocational pastors and their wives. These folks were such a blessing to us!
Williamsburg St. Lighthouse church planter Mike Raftery shared his passion for evangelism with the group. Mike is a former New Yorker who felt the Lord calling him to plant/pastor a small church in Whitley City. Mike consistently shares has 100 Gospel encounters each month! Praise God for men like Mike who have a passion for the area God has placed them!
My family and friends know that I enjoy deer hunting and at one time worked as a meat cutter in a few grocery stores and a butcher in a slaughter house on the weekends. Over the years I've accumulated most of what I need to home butcher a deer (or even a dairy cow once!) in my garage. This Christmas holiday, I received a new toy. I replaced my 5lb vertical sausage stuffer with a 15lb Hakka vertical 2 speed stuffer. This thing is huge!
I went to the store and bought a 7lb pork butt, got out my Cabela's 1/2hp #8 grinder, a recipe I've been wanting to try, and got to work. Here's what I ended up with:
5lb Pork Butt
2 TBS Black Pepper
5 TBS Tender Quick
4 tsp Marjoram
1 TBS Ground Mustard
1 tsp Coriander
1 package of hog casings
I soaked the hog casings twice according to the directions on the package, rinsed them out very well, and kept them in water while I worked. I ground the meat through the coarse plate, chilled the meat, added the seasonings, and ran them through the grinder again through the fine plate. I chilled the meat again. I then took the stuffer parts out of the fridge, assembled it, and ran 5lb of seasoned meat through it into the hog casings. This was my first time doing this. ;)
I then pricked small holes in the casings with a needle (I didn't have a sausage pricker), and placed the casings in the fridge over night. The next morning, I got out my Masterbuilt electric smoker and smoked the meat at 180 degrees till the meat reached 150 degrees. I used apple wood chips in the smoker. Once the meat reached 150, I gave the sausages an ice cold water bath until it cooled off to around 100 degrees. I then let them rest on some cooling racks to blossom for about 3 hours, and vacuum sealed them and placed them in the freezer. I love projects like this! If you use this recipe or have one of your own, let me know!
Some things never get old. This is my third Christmas in the Cousin Eddie outfit, but a new moose mug! The old one was broken in the move to Bowling Green this year. We love watching the same Christmas movies every year and will often do so while cooking dinner, putting up the tree, or cleaning the house together.
This is my 5th year using GNFY as an evangelism tool. My dear friend and mentor, Charles Brock, passed away in November. Sharing the Good News of the gospel never got old with him. He literally never left the house without bait (Good News books). He had fishing bait in his car, on a table by his front door, in a display at his office, and cases and cases of books ready to share with anyone who was willing to evangelize.
He had a passion to share the gospel with the lost and a strong desire to encourage believers to be about the business of fishing for men. Sharing never got old with him.
I'm at a place of contemplation in my life. We are settled into our new home. The kids are well under way with their collegiate studies. I have finished my doctoral project, dissertation, and have graduated. I am coming to a better understanding of my new role with the KBC. These things are good, but not the main thing.
I find myself asking these questions during my morning prayer and study time: "Am I loving the Lord each day with my actions? Am I really spending quality time in prayer; not only lifting up the lost, but listening for His voice to guide me as I go? Am I really passionate for the lost? Do I really see them as I go? When they see me, do I exude the love of my Savior and is the gospel message I share true to scripture?"
While it's fun to dress up as a Christmas movie character with a prop or two, it's necessary to stop periodically and contemplate our walk with the Lord.
"Lord, may it never get old to share the Good News of the gospel as we go. Give us tears for the lost as we cry out to you from early in the morning on into the night. Allow us the energy to be about your business and help us recognize that we need help and encouragement as we go. Please give us a Timothy to train, a Barnabas to walk with, and a Paul to pour into us. May it never get old to follow you, share the gospel, and encourage others in the faith. Amen."
Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer provides some scary statistics regarding youth who claim to be Christian until they graduate high school. The sub-title to the book is very telling: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it. The authors state that 2/3 of kids who are currently attending church WILL drop out when they finish high school. According to their research, the number one reason given for leaving the church was that the service was "too boring." Lifeway did similar research and found the greatest reason for dropping out of church to be "indifference."
While these two reasons may initially sound trivial; they are actually very telling and provide a reasonable explaination of why so many people claim to know Christ, but live and behave differently. Think about our culture for a moment. People expect constant gratification. Virtually everything and everyone we interact with on a daily basis is there to serve us. From the time we wake up, until the time we lay our head down at night we are being served. It's done through our mobile devices, vehicles, stores and their clerks, suppliers at work, and even our families and friends! I would even argue from a biblical standpoint that our default mode is one of selfishness.
The authors argue that teens are dropping out due to a lack of strong apologetic teaching in the church. When Bible truths are presented as "stories" and theories such as evolution are taught as truth, it is no wonder people are confused! Students spend about 30-40 hours a week learning in a secular setting, while the most that the average teen could spend at the average SBC church is 4-6 hours a week. I'm certainly not arguing to flip those numbers, but simply to recognize that if we place the responsibility upon others to teach our children, we shouldn't be surprised as to who will have more credibility.
I too agree that a lack of strong apologetic teaching is present in our families and churches. I have another theory that I'm currently testing out. It's incredibly depressing, but it's proving to give more insight than the lack of apologetic teaching. I believe that many of the issues that churches have do not go back to a boring service, indifferent members, or even apologetics. I believe it is a gospel issue. I preached recently on Mark 4 and the parable of the soils. I proposed that according to scripture, a mark of a believer is multiplying oneself. After the sermon, an older gentleman said that he was encouraged by the sermon, but wished I had spent more time telling them how to share the gospel. I'm a huge proponent of evangelism training, but I often wonder "how many trainings has the average Christian been too versus the number of times they have shared the gospel?" (I'm not mad, just thinking...).
Here's why I believe it's a gospel issue: I've been doing an informal survey in the Bible Belt of Kentucky. Two simple questions.
It's a gospel issue not because I have asked random strangers about their knowledge of the gospel; it's a gospel issue because I've talked to enough church members and regular church attenders to know that there is an epidemic of gospel ignorance. This is the root of the problem. Whenever a person is truly born again a boring worship service is probably last on their list of worries. Indifference goes out the window. Apologetics are something to be excited for rather than a yearly must do. A complete knowledge of the gospel compels one to not only live differently, but to act upon it evangelistically, apologetically, and in a multiplying manner.
Parents, there's a good chance your teen will leave the church when they leave for college. Combat this by not only clearly explaining the Good News of the gospel, but living it out in front of them! Do they see God's Word as a paper weight, or the guide book for all of life? Are you witnessing each week and discussing the encounters over dinner? Are you actively discipling someone in your local congregation or community? Do you place a high value on weekly worship and fellowship regularly outside of church with believers?
Pray with me that we will not only raise up our children in the Lord, but will encourage and challenge other Christians to do the same. Pray with me that we will be bold in explaining the gospel; both within and outside the church. This generation and next depend upon it!
It's July and the All-Star game has just been played. Vacations are happening across the nation and churches are still hosting their annual VBS events. The remnants of July 4th are likely still in yards and streets.
It doesn't sound like football season yet, but that's what I opened my front door to yesterday evening. I young man from a local high school stood there, sweating in the evening heat. He was trying to help his team raise money for uniforms.
Christy was cooking supper. I was doing some household chores thinking about an upcoming family visit. I was not thinking about purchasing a coupon book "good for savings at a number of area locations!"
When I walked to the door, the memory of a conversation I had had with a friend this past week came to mind. God had blessed us by placing us in this new neighborhood. There would be Mormons, JW's, door to door salespeople, and kids trying to raise money for various items coming straight to my door! We had not experienced that at our previous residence (a parsonage right next to the church in a rural community). I was excited for this new opportunity!
I left the kid (he was at least twice the size of me!) outside and went in to talk to Christy about the card and to grab a Red Book. When I went back out, I gave him the money and began to share the Gospel with him. Check out what I was reminded of in my conversation with him:
Last Sunday Christy and I drove eastward to Whitley City KY. We were invited to be a part of a constituting service at a church plant. The day would prove to be quite different in many ways, but started out with the same feeling that I'd been experiencing over the past several weeks. Since moving to Bowling Green we've been attending a different church each week; looking for a church home so I was used to the feeling of uncertainty in what to expect. But this trip would be different.
The night before we drove the opposite direction to Henderson Ky to pick up some wooden children's chairs that were donated by an established church. We didn't get to visit very long in Henderson and did not take the time to ask for the story behind the extra chairs. Maybe the church had moved from wooden to plastic. Perhaps they had a surplus due to a decline in attendance or a generational shift came with no little ones coming up to replace those growing older. Williamsburg Lighthouse Church in Whitley City Ky needed these chairs for their growing children's ministry.
As we drove the two and a half hours to the eastern time zone with chairs in tow, we passed church facilities of all shapes and sizes gearing up for Sunday service. Many of these churches could count the ministry to their communities in multiple decades, if not 100+ years. Lighthouse could count theirs in months (36) like a new parent does with their first child.
When we arrived we noticed a small building with a gravel parking lot. The side of the church had a newly installed air conditioner and a newer wooden porch with a ramp stood out front. Pastor Mike Raftery came out to meet us and took us on the nickel tour of the church. It included a walk through the sanctuary, through his office, and out the rear section of the building that held the Bible study areas. It was small. Had I walked through the same building with another church, I may not be able to recall any of it. But here's what made it special:
1). The passion of the people: As soon as we got out of the car, Mike's wife Tracy pointed us to the small gravel parking lot with excitement saying, "we've expanded our parking lot so more people can park here!" Another member told us about a missions team who came and built their porch on the front. Someone told us about the new air conditioner as they described the joy of worshipping in an air conditioned building. The kids were giving high-fives to the pastor as they entered and the senior adults were in tears as several gave testimonies about their first few years as a church. The people of this church were passionate about what God had done and what He was going to do in their lives and in that of their community through the proclamation of the gospel message.
2). The heart of the pastor and wife: Pastor Mike and his wife Tracy are not from Whitley City, or even Kentucky. They are both veterans of the armed forces and Mike is from New York. But Mike fits into his community. The church fits into the community. He didn't try to come into an area and bring an entirely new culture of worship. Mike understands that in order to reach people with the gospel, he needed to be able to speak their language. Mike moved into the area, got a bi-vocational job, and began to make friends. Mike also has a desire to multiply in order to reach more people with the gospel. After the service Mike said, "I can't wait until we help start a church out of Lighthouse!" They truly love their community and church family.
3). Their heart for the gospel message. This service was peppered with gospel references, a plea to receive Christ, and encouragement to the church that they be about sharing the Good News as they go in order to make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. Mike's desk had gospel tracts and literature on it, no doubt for people to utilize and as a reminder to be about the business that Christ sent us out to do.
Christy and I were headed to a different church, much like we'd done for the past month. But this Sunday was different. It was a blessing to not only take part in the service, but to see the joy on the faces of those gathering in a church plant who received the benefit of working with over 2,400 Kentucky Baptist churches who supported this endeavor. Even a gesture as seemingly small as donating chairs so little ones can have a place to sit provides an example of the partnership we can have as we work to see people saved and churches started. As Lighthouse gathered last week for worship, they sang, prayed, listened to the Word being preached, and corporately gave just like they'd done before, but this Sunday was different. It was their constituting service and they became an autonomous church, they experienced the difference that a Sunday can make.
Our new adventure has begun! Last Wednesday, the movers came and packed the house. Thursday they packed the truck. Monday...they'll deliver to our new home in Bowling Green. This left us "homeless" in a sense over the weekend. Not really homeless, more like "stuff-less." We spent two days in a hotel, but received our new mattresses in our new home so we will spend two nights there prior to the moving truck coming on Monday.
This adventure certainly brought with it some challenges: home upheaval, new procedures and responsibilities at work to learn, unfamiliarity of a new home area to learn to name a few. New adventures are not new to Christy and I. We enjoy meeting new people, going to new places, and trying new things.
It definitely reminds me of my life in Christ. There is always something new to learn, do, and practice. Certain things do stay the same and need to be guarded.
1). Time with the Lord. It's easy to forget to spend a portion of the day with Him; often times leading to a more difficult Christian walk. We need to guard this despite upheavals in routine.
2). Fellowship with other believers. It's easy to find comfort in the familiar. It's difficult to put yourself out there at new churches, introducing yourself and your family to everyone. This is a must!
3). A continued evangelistic lifestyle. I often tell people that those easiest to witness to are strangers. What about when everyone is a stranger? It's my tendency to witness less in these situations due to the stress of the unknown. We must remain vigilant for the Lord and the lost.
A new adventure for the DeHay's means trying to practice what I preach. Please pray for us as we learn our new community and find a new church home.
When our church began partnering with a church plant 3 or 4 years ago, I was quite surprised. I planted one church in Kansas City, helped organize a network of churches, and attempted a plant in Kansas. Evangelism and missions are my passion. Surprisingly, those whose passions match mine are in the minority in most churches. I know, weird. :)
Since this is the case, I loaded my quiver with answers to potential arguments as to why we shouldn't or can't partner with a plant prior to my "sales" pitch to my church. A friend and I went on a vision tour of a SEND City, gathered information on the planters, researched demographics of our target city, and prepared to share with the church. We even went through the WMU ladies as the group who would back the endeavor.
I was genuinely surprised when I shared with the ladies and the church. They immediately said YES! No objections. No hesitation. No concerns about the size of our church. We reevaluated our missions involvement and giving, made a change or two, and dove into partnering with the fledgling church!
We promised to 1). send them at least $100 per month in support. This is not a lot of money, but it helped begin a movement of church planting partnership involvement with our association of churches. We wanted to 2). travel up to the neighborhood of the plant a couple times a year to do whatever they wanted us to do. This is a key in partnering with another church or ministry. Since the ministry is being done in their context, they get to choose what is needed and how you will help. Our church loves prayer-walking. None of their partners wanted to do this: Voila! Match made in heaven! And 3). we also prayed for them consistently. We put them on our prayer list, we prayed for them when we gathered, and people lifted them up in prayer during their daily quiet times.
We are now partnering working with a sister church in our local association to partner with our second plant. The church loves it! What do we get out of it? We get people who are excited about being hands on regarding missions and evangelism. We get to give kingdom dollars to young church who is learning to support themselves. We get to provide encouragement to a planter and his family through phone, video chat, and email conversations. We get to be the encourager to other rural churches in our association who may not know they too can partner with a church plant. We get another venue to share the Good News of the gospel.
How's the fishing going for you? Are you keeping the bait in the water? Let me know if I can help or encourage you!
My friend has been called to an evangelistic ministry. He is fired up to share the gospel with others! He's been going to our local truck stop to share the gospel. He is learning about street evangelism. He is spending time each day in the word, learning, encouraging others, and putting together first sermon at our local church.
He's unique. He has giftings that God gave him for the purpose of glorifying Him. Each of us are unique though. All who are children of His have been given specific gifts that are to be used for His glory.
We were talking yesterday and he said, "I've known what I'm supposed to be doing, I've just been putting it off." Every other Christian is most likely in the same boat. Those who claim the name of Christ are changed. They aren't living for themselves anymore. The Bible uses words like, slave, servant, bondslave, child. We've been bought with a price.
We know that we need to follow Christ daily and share the Good News. We know that people are lost without Christ. We love our family, friends, and co-workers. We don't hate everyone else, we just don't know them like those close to us.
What are we missing? I'd say that it's compassion for the lost. When was the last time we sat at the "old man's" bench at Wal-Mart and watched the people walk by us? Most are lost. Drive through a large neighborhood. What do you see? Lost people. Pull up some statistics on your town or county. Mine has 37,000 unchurched out of 47,000 people!
When we have a compassion for the lost, we'll get a passion to share the gospel. "I just can't bring myself to share!" Has Christ saved you? When we recognize what He's done for us, then surely we'd want to share that with others! This compassion will lead to a passion to share!
Not just on a "visitation" night.
Not just on a missions trip.
Not just after a fiery sermon.
Do you have compassion on others who are apart from Christ? Does this cause you to be passionate to share His Good News? Let me know if I can encourage you, help you, or pray for you!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.