Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Zephan and Taylar are disciple-makers in Kansas City, Kansas. In response to the pandemic, they're using neighborhood networking sites to engage their city. Despite pushback, their prayer and perseverance opened the door for Discovery Bible Study!
We Didn’t Let Pushback Stop Us
The lockdown has compelled us to find creative and meaningful ways to engage lost people. Recently, we made a post titled “Hope and Friendship” on Nextdoor.com, a neighborhood networking site. In the description, we wrote, “Is there anyone who would like to get together, build friendship, and find hope from the stories in the Bible? If you’re interested, please send us a message.” To our dismay, some people left mocking comments, but others defended us. Eventually, Nextdoor removed the post from their site.
Instead of staying discouraged, we reworded our Bible study invitation and reposted it. Numerous people messaged us with interest in meeting up. Shortly thereafter, Nextdoor disabled our account for 12 days, saying we breached their code of conduct.
Meeting Lost People Through Neighborhood Websites
Undismayed by this setback, we Googled websites that would help us connect with neighbors and found Meetup.com. On Meetup, we started a group called “Discovering God.” We described it as: “Life is a journey that God designed us to walk with others. Whether you are a believer and just want to grow your faith, or you don’t know God but are curious, let’s connect and go through the Bible together!” Within a day, 10 people joined the group.
Though some expressed interest, we met up with one gentleman named John over zoom last month. As we shared our stories, John shared how bad experiences with church led him to walk away from God and dabble in Buddhism.
“Why did you start this Meetup group?” John asked.
I (Zephan) shared how humans are designed to learn from Jesus together, live it out, and share it with others. Then I explained the Discovery Bible Study—how we get together, read a story from the Bible, put it into practice that day, and share it with others.
John was intrigued. “You know, it’s been almost 30 years since I’ve read the Bible. But I think I’d like to give this a try.”
John agreed to meet on Zoom every week for a month. I’m excited to see what God will do!
People are Spiritual, but Not Necessarily Religious
On Meetup, I researched the topics in which the people in my city are most interested. I discovered people were not very drawn to “church,” or “religion,” but were fascinated by “spirituality”, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
I discovered that using spiritual language attracts more people on Meetup. People in our city simply aren’t sold on “religion” but may be open to God. Likewise, although John is fed up with church, he is spiritually hungry.
Lessons on Dealing With Opposition
I (Zephan) was excited about the idea of experiencing pushback for the gospel. The roadblock didn’t discourage us. Instead, we chose to use it as an opportunity to be creative.
On the other hand, I (Taylar) was angry. However, while driving the other day, we listened to The CDM Podcast episode on “Being Christlike in Cultural Clashes”. As a person who will fight for what’s right, I needed to hear it. Though I intend well, I don’t always come across as gracious.
Despite my anger about Nextdoor’s ban on our account, I realized I won’t get anywhere by allowing little things to demoralize me. There are so many more people out there who are willing to listen—I should focus my energy on them!
Together, we found that prayer is one of the best tools for bouncing back from pushback. After the ban on our account, we prayed to God for guidance. He brought to mind new creative ideas such as joining a photography group on Meetup. He’s the ultimate source of encouragement and creativity!