Everyone's got a story... what's yours?
Every year, the Christian Union organises an exciting week-long series of outreach events, mobilising Christians from all the different colleges towards a common aim to make Jesus Christ known. This year, things will naturally have to be slightly different, but different is not necessarily a bad thing!
Instead of 1 week as in previous years, STORY will last for 2 weeks. Instead of having to rush to a certain venue to attend the event, STORY will be fully online for everyone to explore faith, ask questions and hear about Jesus. The opportunity is there for all to be engaged, regardless of whether we might still be in Cambridge or not! More importantly, while things might look different this year and some doors have closed (in particular, being able to invite friends to physically gather at church), I want to also recognise the greater opportunity the pandemic has presented for more personal and informal evangelistic approaches.
If anything, I believe the current situation has been really beneficial in making us confront our notion of what evangelism truly entails. Admittedly, I have always associated it with inviting somebody to church, or at the very least, in the context of a physical gathering or event such that it does not seem too random and awkward to talk about matters of faith. In the midst of the pandemic, however, these doors have closed for now here in Cambridge, but does that mean evangelism should stop? Surely not.
By God’s grace, we are still able to see and meet friends. With technology, we can zoom and stream videos together with friends. Yes, inviting someone to watch STORY together online can be even more intimidating, but these personal, informal opportunities for small group evangelism can potentially be really transformative for others and yourself! People are more open now than they have ever been before. The longing for true meaning has never been more present in light of a seemingly hope-less situation. Most crucially, God is and will still be working whether gatherings are in-person or virtual. Everyone’s got a story…why not hear what others have to say and share yours with a friend?
I’m sure there are some who can relate when I say that I find it difficult to just naturally share and talk about faith with friends. But something I have found useful to remember is that important things seldom happen naturally. The things that are most important require intentionality, practice and boldness. The latter, in particular, has nothing to do with personality or whether one is an introvert/extrovert. Boldness is given by God. Ephesians 3:12 says that in Christ “we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” I pray that God will give each of us boldness and the conviction to invite a friend to watch one of the STORY events together online, to listen carefully as they share their story, and to look for opportunities to share with them ours as well.