On Easter our church will not be able to gather in-person as we traditionally do. This is heartbreaking because COVID-19 has many people looking for answers to life’s deepest questions and wondering if there is any hope. This, more than ever, is the time for the church to rise up and proclaim the message of the resurrection. But how can we do this when we are not allowed to meet?
We believe this obstacle is actually an opportunity — an opportunity to share the gospel with far more people than we typically would on Easter and to empower you to be the primary heralds of that good news.
We help prepare you to share your testimony, then, on the week leading up to Easter, we all post our sixty-second videos on social media with the hashtag #JesusChangedMyLife. People all over our city, quarantined in their homes and scrolling on their phones, would see a flood of stories about how the resurrected Jesus brings purpose and meaning and hope. One click on the hashtag and they could see hundreds of Angelenos — just like them — from churches all across LA talking about how Jesus changed the trajectory of their live!
Think about the implications.
Rather than each of us inviting one person to an Easter service, we could each proclaim the gospel to hundreds of non-Christian friends and co-workers. It could be the most evangelistic day in the history of Los Angeles. And the best part is that every one of us are the ones proclaiming the gospel. Furthermore, this will be a beautiful display of the unity of the church in Los Angeles; it’s not one church’s “thing.” Rather, it puts all the emphasis on Jesus.
What’s Your Story?
We’ve all heard the gospel called good news. But another way to translate that term is “the good story.”
Every one of us has a unique story to tell. One no one else can tell. Yet the hero in all those stories is the same — Jesus!
Click below for a story-sharing guide created to help you think about the shape of your personal story and how Jesus changed it.
Post April 6-12
Then post your story any time April 6-12 with the #JesusChangedMyLife hashtag and your church’s handle to connect viewers to a local church (i.e. #JesusChangedMyLife @belairchurch). When they click on the handle, they will go to your church’s social media profile to find an invitation to an online Easter service where they will hear the gospel clearly preached, learn how to respond with faith, and find how to get connected with a local church.
Our friends over at RealityLA were the catalyst to getting many churches across Los Angeles to share their story this week. Pastor Jeremy Treat with RealtyLA and our own Pastor Drew have been friends for years and are excited that this can be one of the most impactful seasons of evangelism we’ve ever seen.
Watch Nathan’s one-minute testimony below to get a sense of what it could be like to tell your own story.
Here are some best practices for shooting yourself on your phone.
- Simple, clean backdrops are ideal – Avoid distracting backgrounds or crowed spaces.
- In natural light – Avoid backlighting. The main source of light should be facing you, not behind you.
- In artificial light – Avoid standing directly below an overhead light or anything else that creates hard shadows. Consider using a stand lamp several feet away for good indirect light.
- Shoot eye level – Shooting from above or below will make you seem diminished or imposing. Eye level communicates accessibility.
- Clean your camera – Make sure the lens of your selfie camera is clean before shooting.
- Shoot portrait – Align your phone vertically.
We’ve created a guide with examples that you can access here:
We want these materials to be as accessible as possible to any other churches or organizations that would like to use them.
In addition to the guides above, you can click below to download #JesusChangedMyLife art assets and videos.
Let’s proclaim the story of Jesus together!
WHAT IF I’M NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
You can still join the #JesusChangedMyLife movement by simply engaging with those around you! At this moment in time, there are unparalleled opportunities to serve our neighbors and more ways to communicate with others. It’s easier than ever to simply say “Hey, I just realized that I’ve never shared my story with you. Here’s why I am who I am or why I do what I do….” All it takes is a little courage, maybe some creativity, and prayer for wisdom and guidance.
WHAT IF MY STORY DOESN’T HAVE A “CONVERSION MOMENT”?
That’s okay! It’s not less powerful as a result. Some of us have stories that demonstrate God’s ability to pluck us from the wreckage and save us from the worst of circumstances. Others have stories that display God’s patient lovingkindness as he slowly woos us to himself. Even in less “dramatic” stories, there are moments where God has met us powerfully and personally in our struggle and need. Tell those parts of your story because they are powerful witnesses to the God who is weaving all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
WHAT IF MY TESTIMONY IS BORING?
Maybe you grew up in the church or always “followed the rules.” While your story might lack the harrowing details of seedy bars and back alleys, it is still a story about the deathless God who loved you enough to die then rose again. There’s nothing boring about that! The fact remains that your heart was changed by the God who sees you, knows you, pursues you, and has rescued you. So tell your story and remember there’s probably another “rule follower” out there who needs to hear your story because it could be the story that changes their life.
WHAT IF MY TESTIMONY IS TOO LONG?
How do you fit your life — months, years, even decades — into a mere 60 seconds? How do you talk about the depth of your personal story and need for Christ in such a brief glimpse? The only answer we can give you is to practice! Use short sentences and precise words, think through what you want to say before you shoot it, and run through it a few times before recording. In fact, practicing with friends, family, or community who know you may actually help you process your story even more clearly.
I’M WORRIED WHAT OTHER PEOPLE WILL THINK; SHOULD I STLL SHARE?
Our name is now linked with that of Jesus Christ and it’s important to remember that our resurrected king was first our crucified king. By testifying to his greatness, we identify with him and that will always bring with it the possibility of persecution and rejection. For some of our brothers and sisters around the world this could mean being disowned by family members, beaten, imprisoned, or even killed. For most of us in the U.S. and Western world, it could mean people perceiving or treating us differently, possibly even unfairly. But you need to remember that God sees and knows all of this. This is a time to offer your fears to him and remember that he will lead you through whatever adversity you may face for proclaiming him as your Lord and Savior.
HOW VULNERABLE SHOULD I BE ABOUT MY STORY?
Some of us have pain in our stories that is hard to describe in so few words, let alone share publicly. How do we treat difficult issues or traumas such as abuse with the sensitivity and depth they require? The obvious advice is to only be as vulnerable as you are comfortable with and to use discernment. If you would be uncomfortable with anyone from your grandma to a stranger knowing what you’ve been through, then find ways to share what you’ve gone through that aren’t explicit, or maybe focus on the emotional journey you experienced when you recognized your need for the gospel. Be gentle with yourself. You can share as much or as little of your story as you like — it’s yours to tell.