Sharing the love and Gospel of God in Lockdown

As Christians we are called to share the love and joy of the gospel, even in times of lockdown.

But of course, this throws up a range of challenges or obstacles in the way of our ‘usual’ methods of sharing with others.  I mean, we can’t hang out at our local bakery or café, where many of our ‘faith conversations’ may usually happen, nor are we likely to bump into others in the butchers, or Richie’s at the moment.  Most of us are unable to lend a hand to a neighbour or go hang with the Mum’s at playgroup.

So, what can we do?

What can we do to share life, love and the Gospel of Jesus with those around us in this season?

 

How to share with those already in our lives

I am sure we all have several friends, or neighbours that we already know, and have already shared life and faith with.  Which is great, because we already have a foundation of friendship.  We can continue sharing God’s love with those people by…

 

Praying for them – What committed prayer can achieve is boundless!  Taking time regularly, to pray intentionally for the salvation and spiritual growth of friends, family and neighbours, is vital.  People may sometimes feel that prayer is passive, but it most certainly is not.  It is absolutely essential to the growth of God’s Kingdom and paves the way in the spiritual realms for what can be done in the physical. Here are some ideas…

  • Make a list of people for whom you will pray
  • Make a regular time to pray for those people
  • Put that time in your calendar.In a digital calendar, set an alarm to remind yourself.
  • Create a prayer partnership! Inviting another Christian friend to pray along with you.This is really powerful and encouraging.
  • Have pen and paper with you as you pray, so you can jot down anything God may prompt you with as you pray for people.

 

Picking up the phone – During lockdown we still have the ability to reach for our phone to call, text or video chat.  It is really important at this time to continue to connect with our friends, but sometimes we need to be intentional about this, because, let’s be honest, we all get complacent and distracted by other things.

  • Pop a reminder in your calendar to give them a buzz regularly.
  • Check in, see how they are going, be ready to listen and go from there.
  • Spontaneous calls are great for some, but you might also like to arrange a virtual ‘catch up’ with people, so you get that quality time. It is hard to have a good conversation while cooking dinner, or helping kids with school work.

 

Be Active in Caring for people – There is a lot of need in our community right now, and we have so many wonderful opportunities to care for others. Here are just a few ideas…

  • Write a thoughtful card or encouragement letter and post it to them.
  • The next time you are heading to the store for essentials, give someone from your list a call and ask if they need any groceries.
  • Make a meal, or give someone a treat by giving a voucher for a local take away.
  • Chat with your neighbours’ kids if they are playing outside or maybe play a game over the fence, such as Eye Spy with them.Kids get lonely too.
  • Send a care pack in the mail, with items that help that person feel valued.

 

 

Organise a bible study/discipleship catch up:

You may have people in your life who are new or young Christians, and though you are praying for them, you would like to help them grow in their faith. In this case, why not…

 

  • Arrange a time with them to do a bible study over the phone or video call?There are lots of resources on the net, as well as some the STM staff would be happy to send your way.  Just ask.
  • Send encouraging scriptures or articles.
  • Read a book together, perhaps one you can gift to them via Koorong or the like.
  • Share your faith stories, testimony, what God has done in your life with them.These kinds of anecdotes can be very inspiring and faith building.

 

 How to share with those NOT YET in our lives

 

You may think we currently have little to no opportunity to make new friends, or share with strangers, but…  we can:

 

Take a walk around the block

If you go at roughly the same time each day, you will start to recognise people in your neighbourhood.

  • Start with a ‘Hi, how are you’ and build from there. Soon, those strangers will be ‘neighbours’!
  • While exercising in your area, take the time to pray for your street/suburb and the people there.Ask God for opportunities to connect with people and love them.

 

Do a letterbox drop

  • Write a card or letter of introduction, and offer of help should they ever need it. Place this in the letter box of those in your street.It is a great ice breaker and can open up more opportunities to connect.
  • Get specific.You might have noticed a particular older resident, who may need someone to talk to.  Let them know you are there, and they can call you if they want to. Or a parent struggling with juggling work, supervising kids school work and housekeeping.  Post some chocolate and an encouragement card in their letterbox. Let them know, you care.

 

Share on social media

If you are on Facebook, or the like, these are a great tool for sharing God’s love and gospel.  There are so many people in great need of seeing good news on their feed.  Be a positive voice in their ‘scroll’.

  • Think about what you share.You can encourage and inspire others by posting encouraging articles, songs of hope, scripture, videos of testimonies.
  • You might join or be part of a local community ‘group’ such as ‘The Emerald and Around Notice Board’, The Hills and the Dandong’s group’ or ‘Mums of The Hills’, Facebook groups.Friendships can be formed in these communities.

Broadening your online horizons, you will start to see, a lot of need.  People struggling, people hurting.  You can really impact someone by messaging them words of understanding and care.

  • Share things St. Mark’s is doing, such as courses or events.Share our online services, or let people know what the church and Echo do for the community.  Promote NILS, or Careline.  Let people know what practical care we can offer.

 

So, as you can see there is so much we can still be doing in this wonderful mission field we call home. We hope there is some helpful ideas for you here.  At times it might feel strange, it might be different to what we have been used to but we are equipped to ‘go make disciples. (Matt 28:19).

Bless you, as you share the love of our Father.

 

 

 

Rev. Andrew Bowles – Senior Minister

Andrew is the Senior Minister at St. Mark’s (and maybe the Vicar, or Pastor, depending on where you’re coming from and what day it is). He is passionate about helping people experience Jesus at work in their everday lives, and as well as overseeing the leadership of St. Mark’s he looks after the teaching, discipleship and care ministries of our church. You can find Andrew’s Sunday sermons on our podcast. Andrew enjoys running, and is interested in sustainable living.  Though new to the Hills area, he has quickly embraced the ‘Hills lifestyle’ along with his lovely wife and two young sons.

Get in touch with Andrew via:

phone 5968 4046

email: andrew.bowles@stmarksemerald.org.au

Andrew can be found in the Church office Monday – Thursday 9am – 4:30pm

or otherwise having coffee somewhere in town.

 

Rev. Jerome Dias – Associate Minister

Jerome is the Associate Minister at St. Mark’s and has a passion for everyone to encounter the living
God more fully, as they grow in intimacy with Jesus. Also, in his love for building community, he has
oversight for establishing a new service, as well as for nurturing the discipleship formation across the
generations of the church. Additionally, he and his wonderful wife share the joy (and challenge) of
raising their three active young boys. While the beauty of Emerald and the hills will satisfy Jerome’s
love of nature, he is not too sure about the cooler weather up here – however he owns a good
selection of beanies!
Get in touch with Jerome via:
phone 5968 4046
email: jerome.dias@stmarksemerald.org.au
Jerome can be found on site Wednesday and Thursday 9:30am -3:30pm

Rev. Vivianne Dias -Assistant Minister

Vivianne is our assistant minister here at St Mark’s.  Her biggest passion is seeing people experiencing and knowing God. Vivianne is married to
Jerome (our Associate Minister), and is mother to their three boys. Vivianne enjoys playing guitar
and singing, catching up with loved ones, anything Jane Austen… and tea!
Get in touch with Vivianne via:
phone 5968 4046
email: vivianne.dias@stmarksemerald.org.au
Vivianne can be found on site Tuesday 9am – 3:30pm as well as Thursday and Friday 9:40am – 2:20pm

Hollie – Children and Family’s Minister

Hollie is one of St. Mark’s children and family’s ministers.  Hollie heads up: Kids worship at St. Mark’s as well as Playgroups and the Parenting Toolbox courses.  Aside from organisation, administration and management of these programs, Hollie serves the community by caring and supporting local families in the midst of raising young children.  Hollie is also the chaplain for Menzies Creek Primary School. She has a Graduate Diploma of Children and Families Ministry. Hollie relishes time with her husband and three kids.  If you have questions about any of the ministry areas above, you can:

phone 5968 4046

email: hollie.boniface@stmarksemerald.org.au

Hollie is on site: Wednesday and Thursday 9:30am -4:30pm