Christianity Explored Online: Evangelism via Zoom
The coronavirus pandemic has presented Christians new openings to share their faith. Find out how churches can use free resources from Christianity Explored Ministries to make the most of this opportunity during lockdown.
“How did your group get on?” my housemate, Abby, a respiratory physio, asks me as we debrief in the living room with a cup of tea after another session of Christianity Explored. A few months ago, we’d have been having this chat on the tube on the way home - nowadays the commute is non-existent as we shuffle back to the lounge from our respective rooms.
It has been so exciting to see more people than ever sign up to take the course online at my church. From reports reaching me in my role at Christianity Explored Ministries (CEM), it seems this has been the case across the board.
In the words of CEM co-founder Rico Tice:
“This pandemic has stripped us of our idols and forced us to focus on our souls. Evangelistic doors are opening now that have been shut for decades.”
At CEM we’d love to help Christians take hold of these unprecedented opportunities for sharing their faith and we’ve been thrilled that a number of FIEC churches have been finding our material a useful online tool to engage seekers.
How does an online course work?
Ordinarily, our courses (Life Explored, Christianity Explored and Discipleship Explored) are run in person, with guests often sharing a meal before hearing a short talk (given live or using our films). This is followed by a discussion and a short Bible study.
Even in the current lockdown, it is relatively straightforward to move this in-person course online. The materials are designed to be flexible so you can really make it your own.
- The course could be run on any online platform (Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or another platform you are comfortable using).;
- Download digital copies of the Guest Handbooks and Leader’s Guides, or post hard copies out ahead of the first session;
- Share your screen during the session to watch the talks. You can download these from The Good Book Company, or stream from Youtube where we’ve made them available for free until the end of August 2020;
- If you have enough people, split into smaller breakout groups for the discussions. Visit the Christianity Explored website for best practice when hosting a course on Zoom.
What are some of the benefits of an online course?
A real benefit is that unlike in-person courses where you may need to plan a venue, food and other logistics, running the course online does not require much lead time.
It’s also easier for people to attend: it’s less intimidating and takes much less effort than going along to a course in person, and it allows people to join who wouldn’t normally be able to. For example, my brother doesn’t live near me but was able to come along to my church’s online course.
Although there are also some challenges - like how we build rapport with group members over a screen - our Training Director, Craig Dyer, has found it works so well he plans to keep offering an online version of the course at Harper Church in Glasgow after the pandemic ends.
Run your own course
If your church isn’t already running anything like this, we hope this gives you and your congregation some ideas for how to keep reaching out as we continue to observe social distancing.
Find out more and be inspired on the Christianity Explored website, where you’ll find real-life stories and tips from church leaders about how to get going. Or watch a webinar on running the course on Zoom below.