With churches closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many things have been done virtually. Hasani Tait, pastor at Ephesus Church in Greenville, Mississippi, has found new ways to do virtual evangelism in safe, practical, and socially distanced ways. After much prayer, fasting, and conversation with Michael Lewis, pastor from Birmingham, Alabama, on his experience with virtual evangelism, Joe Grider, D.Min., South Central Conference ministerial director, and Hasani Tait conducted a virtual Revelantion seminar entitled “Revelation Fire.” The results were 32 individuals joining the church via baptism or profession of faith, and zero COVID cases. Here’s how they did it.
COVID-proofing the Church
The South Central Conference sent out guidelines to pastors some months ago on precautions, protocols, and procedures to prepare churches for future reopening — socially distanced seating charts, shampooing carpets, disinfecting entire church, removing all unnecessary furniture items, remodeling bathrooms, temperature guns, masks, sanitizer stations, safety signs, floor markers, and sanitizing microphones. The church members completed every health and safety protocol.
A team of four, two professional Bible workers and two local church volunteer workers, trained in socially distanced Bible work went door to door in the Greenville, Mississippi, territory from September 28 to October 23, 2020. The team was trained to wear masks and gloves, keep a distance of about 10 feet, and place Bible studies in bags when visiting each home. The team made many good community contacts. Once the virtual evangelistic meeting began, Lewis and Alfred Miller, evangelist from Birmingham, led the team.
Virtual Evangelistic Meeting
A nightly, virtual evangelistic meeting was streamed from October 24 to November 7, 2020, at Ephesus Church to reap individuals who had been studying with the Bible work team. Tait preached doctrinal truths from the book of Revelation in new, relevant, exciting, and applicable ways. Topics included “3 Angels Message,’ “7 Seals,” “7 Plagues,” “Mark of the Beast,” “Second Coming of Christ,” and “Heaven.” Each evening, no more than 10-12 community guests were allowed in the building. As they entered, they were given masks if needed, had temperature checked at the door, and sanitized hands upon entry. The 10-12 guests sat socially distanced at marked seats in the approximately 300-capacity sanctuary. Each meeting was opened by Lewis, followed by a musical selection, and ending with the message by Tait. The nightly total stream, not including the intro, was less than an hour. Other guests, church members, and Bible study interests not in the building watched the replayable stream either on the Greenville Ephesus YouTube Channel or the church’s Facebook page.
Thirty-two individuals who had made a decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and join the Ephesus Church were encouraged to join via profession of faith. Those who insisted were allowed water baptism. During the evangelistic meeting, six profession of faith and baptism sessions were held. Baptisms followed South Central Conference’s safety procedures for baptism during COVID-19.
Praise God, the meeting was a huge blessing and major success as many individuals accepted Christ in Greenville, Mississippi.
Carolina | January 2021