Here are the tentative weekly outreach times for online evangelism:
Sunday 1-3pm (Practical Training Outreach)
These times are all in AEST (GMT+10), so adjust them based on your own timezone.
How to take part
To watch any of our online outreaches, you can watch live on our YouTube channel or Facebook page. Or to take part in any of these outreaches, email us for the virtual room meeting link.
Saturday & Sunday I was back out on the virtual streets (literally)!
On Friday night I watched a YouTube video about a virtual pandemic that had occured in an online game. This got me thinking about this as an option for online evangelism, but I didn’t want the game to distract from my time in sharing the gospel. And this made me think of something that caught a lot of media attention back in the year 2000 (I think it was): Second Life (https://secondlife.com/). It was a virtual world, where people could build things and socialise. I looked it up in the morning, and to my amazement, it is still a thing - all these years later.
I signed up, downloaded the client, and installed it. I logged in and instantly I was in a virtual world, with people around I could interact with! I followed the tutorial and it wasn’t long before I was attempting to start conversations with real people.
Interestingly, second life has rules, just like real life (pictured). But that makes sense. The same gentleness and respect is required in virtual conversations as in real ones!
I managed to get into a conversation with a newbie (like me) from Poland. But she wasn’t keen to talk about spiritual things, so I just left it.
Later, I was in a spot with three other people near me, and I realised I could talk to them all at the same time. So I simply, and politely asked them what they thought happened after life. I got a nibble from one of them, but the conversation didn’t get rolling. Just like in real life!
To my surprise, the girl from Poland got in touch later on. She wanted to catch up, and she was bringing a friend. Before I knew it, I was talking to both of them about the important questions of life (pictured)! Unfortunately, they both left before hearing the gospel - but I was very encouraged by the gospel possibilities - even while in COVID-19 lock down!
What have I learned so far? 1) Typing in the Second Life client is laggy (I can type faster than the letters appear on the screen) - this actually makes it really hard to communicate. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a solution for this. 2) There are areas in Second Life to be avoided, just like in real life. I ended up getting teleported into a nightclub at one point, and you can come across some visuals that are not wholesome. So beware of this if you are thinking of trying this yourself!
On Sunday afternoon I would normally be on Cashel Mall, but I can’t be there! So I decided to try Second Life again. I didn’t want to waste time, making the most of my opportunity to share the gospel, so I realised I was just going to have to start approaching strangers and try to start conversations. I was suddenly very nervous! Just like in real life! But putting aside my fear, I got to it.
The first two people I tried talking to ignored me (pictured). But on my third try, I got some response (pictured)! To my shock, the guy was a pastor in real life too! He gave me some in-game money (I don’t know how to use that yet), and he gave me some tips.
Due to the typing delay, I decided to move back to Omegle.
My first conversation was with another guy who seemed to be involved in a Christian cult. I could tell this was going to be a good conversation, but he unexpectedly left. :(
My second conversation started well. The person on the other end didn’t believe in God, but when I explained how we know God exists - they clearly saw the logic of it. I was encouraged, and used the law to explain the bad news. At this point they started to understand the implications, and didn’t like it. They insisted they would go to heaven, but eventually came to see it wasn’t so: “OK i understand”. I now had the chance to swing to the good news, but I decided to try to spend a little more time to make things clear, when they suddenly disconnected. I felt grieved. Maybe I should have just shared the good news first, and then tracked back? Oh well, I leave them in God’s hands. May they have another opportunity to hear it!
I wanted to see what other online communities I could engage in. So I searched for “talk to people online” via Google. A long list came up! I tried the first one: https://chat42.online/ - it’s just like Omegele! There are many opportunities for the gospel online.
I’m going to keep working with Second Life, and see if I can find good spots for other Christians to join me in evangelism. I’m confident that we could even make a flip chart - you can make anything you can imagine in Second Life, and there is a scripting language for making the objects interactive.
Looking forward to getting back to the real streets, but in the meantime, I’m trying to make the most of these online opportunities. I hope you have been encouraged and inspired. What gospel gold mines are yet to be discovered?
Due to NZ being in lock down due to COVID-19, Thursday and Friday were another two days of online evangelism for me.
At the moment, my main place to have conversations is Omegle. Same as on the streets, you get a lot of rejections from people simply not interested. But also, same as on the streets, you can get into wonderful gospel conversations with a little bit of patience.
On Thursday, I had a gem of a conversation. I’m going to give you some highlights. This is an added bonus of online evangelism: you can keep the text of all your conversations! I hope this will encourage you (I’ve done a lot of snipping).
This person was very open to the conversation: Believed in God, heaven and hell, admitted they would be guilty. But they were slowly becoming aware of the implications of that and wanted to put their head in the sand, but at the same time were interested:
You: So if I've broken His laws, I would deserve hell - right?
Stranger: I'm supposed to be sleeping. it’s literally 2:30am
Stranger: yh u would deserve hell bc u broke his laws
You: Well, there is hope for heaven, can I share that before you go to bed.
I then shared the gospel. The response was encouraging:
You: We must trust that Jesus paid the fine for our sins.
You: Trust is another word for faith...
You: We are saved by grace, through faith.
You: It is not our good deeds.
Stranger: that’s amazing
You: You said it! I agree
You: That is why I want to share this with people.
Stranger: thank you so much. that’s made me appreciate life more
So it’s one thing getting a person to appreciate life more, but that won’t save you. So I continued to work with this person. I explained the cost of following Jesus, and started using checking questions to get them thinking through what I was sharing.
You: so may I ask you: what must you do to go to heaven?
Stranger: ummm i think just be grateful for life and don’t regret any second of it
Stranger: is there supposed to be a right answer
You: But if I had murdered someone, I can still be grateful for life.
Stranger: i’m really confused
You: Jesus, who is God, paid the fine for our sins, when he died on the cross.
You: That's okay, I'm happy to slow down, I want you to understand this, it's so important.
I now realised I had them engaged enough, that I could slow down, and backtrack to go over things in a different way.
And then I got this:
Stranger: wow you have made me feel so much better
You: Why do you feel better?
Stranger: just learning
You: cool :)
Feeling better is great, but it won’t save you from hell. So I persisted. This encouraged me, as it showed the person was starting to understand:
You: And that is have someone pay your fine.
Stranger: like jesus payed for our fines
And then later this:
You: So, what did I say you need to do to be saved?
Stranger: trusting jesus to pay our sins
Stranger: i think
You: You got it!
You: Now, what is stopping you from doing that?
You: What is stopping you from trusting that Jesus died to pay for your sin?
You: Let me explain what I mean.
I then moved on to continue explaining the cost of following Jesus, and I got this:
Stranger: i don’t understand sorry
You: All good, let me explain :)
You: Let me give you an example.
You: Am I making sense?
Stranger: yh it’s all adding up now
You: Good. So the paradox is that Jesus is a gift... that will cost you.
You: For that reason, most people reject the gift.
For some reason, the person I was talking to became concerned for their Mum - the thought of losing a loved one.
You: Well we will all die one day.
Stranger: ok now i’m gonna cry
You: Has your mum died recently?
You: Is she alive?
Stranger: it’s just the thought
Stranger: yh shes alive
You: Yes, we love our parents - I understand.
You: Well, there is hope for eternal life.
You: Trust in Jesus sacrifice to be saved, knowing your life will come into submission of him as your Lord. Then tell your mum about the amazing gift of Jesus! :)
Stranger: i will
You: Do you have a Bible?
Stranger: well i have to go now i have to go sleep
You: Thanks for talking with me.
Stranger: no i don’t have a bible
Stranger: aw it was amazing talking
You: ok, well get one, plenty of free ones as apps on your phone. Start at the book of John.
You: And then find a church (a good one).
Stranger: i used to go church but i don’t go as much
You: Thanks for your time! God bless you!
Stranger: god bless! x
You: bye :)
It all became rushed at the end as I realised the person was going to leave. I wanted to connect them to a Bible and a good church. But ultimately, it is God who saves through the weakness of us sharing the good news (even online!). I have to leave this person in God’s hands. I have no idea who they are and I will never see them again. If God saves them, there will be a desire to read the Bible, and to find a good local church.
I’ve started thinking of other places where I can find groups of people online to talk to. I will experiment, and if any of them work out, I’ll write about them in future Battle Logs.
On Monday, in New Zealand, it was announced that the whole nation would be going into lock down to protect from Covid-19. What this means is that everyone needs to stay at home, except those working in essential services.
As much as we know that sharing the gospel is absolutely essential, we won’t be able to be on the streets of Christchurch to do that at the moment. And there won’t be anyone on the streets anyway.
So starting from Tuesday, I started doing online evangelism!
I then went to a web site that facilitates starting one to one conversations (via text): https://www.omegle.com/.
It took a few tries to get someone willing to stay and talk, but I was very encouraged with my first conversation. It was with someone who was very resistant - an agnostic who was very close to atheist. But they were intrigued with my line of argumentation, and stayed long enough for me to share the gospel! They left the conversation soon after.
My second attempt was with someone who was Hindu. But they bailed before I could share the gospel.
My third conversation was with a Christian from Brazil. He was very encouraged by what I was doing:
You: No, the Bible teachers that God is just and must punish sin.
Stranger: and he did that
You: Yes, either in Hell, or on Jesus taking our punishment on the cross.
You: But there is 1 thing we must do in response to be saved: TRUST.
You: We are saved by grace through faith.
Stranger: i like u
You: So If you came to me, I would get you to realise your sin, and then tell you about Jesus. And then tell you to trust in Him.
You: I like you too.
You: I'm from New Zealand
Stranger: im from Brazil
Stranger: it's a nice thing u doing man
You: I go on the streets to do this, but I can't now because of Corvid19... so I am trying to talk to people about Jesus on the Internet
Stranger: thats such a cool play
Stranger: i will do that too
After that, I decided to investigate other ways of doing evangelism online. Over twenty years ago, before I was a Christian, and in the early days of the Internet, I used to use a thing called Internet Relay Chat (IRC). I decided to look into this again, and I found a channel on the freenode network called “truth” - a place where people can talk about politics and religion. It had been a long time since I used IRC, so I had to spend some time getting up to speed.
This work continued today. After rushing out to buy a new monitor before the lock down (pictured), as I’ll be spending many hours in this new venture, I had downloaded an IRC client (mIRC) and had connected to the truth channel on freenode and started reading an FAQ to relearn how IRC worked. I could see some people talking in the channel, but I didn’t take much notice.
After some reading, I looked up, and I noticed that people were talking about Christianity in the channel! So I jumped in. I started with: “Interesting, I just noticed that there is discussion about Christianity. I am a Christian. I was attracted to this channel by the name "truth" and the topic.” And slowly but surely, I was able to join the conversation and make connections:
Response: “Can it be...another Christian?”
Me: “I am new, popped in yesterday for the first time.”
Response: “PLEASE return. I'm usually the only Christian in here.”
Me: “I'm happy to stick around for the next 4 weeks at least.”
Response: “I can thank the virus for that? 😬😅”
Me: “God uses all things for the good of those that love Him.”
Me: “I can see it's going to be hard to follow conversation in this group - apologies if I miss things.”
Response: “oh, people in here will dogpile you, and yes, you won't be able to reply to all of it”
Me: “dogpile = overwhelmed with responses?”
Response: “Yes, many people wanting to go after the Christian :P”
Me: “I'm up for it.... I think :)”
So I ended up making connections with two Christians and I’m very encouraged. I can see how important it will be to work on staying on target with online discussions - not allowing things to go down rabbit trails, but I'm hoping it will be very fruitful.
Earlier in the afternoon, I had another conversation via Omegle with a young ex-hindu now atheist from the UK. I was able to share the gospel with him.
I’m so encouraged. A whole new world of gospel opportunities is opening up to me. I will keep reporting what I learn - maybe some of you will be able to do something similar while in lock down. God uses all things for the good of those who love Him!