Do you only “attend” church on Sunday?
We are all aware of the spread of Coronavirus and the reaction of our society around us. But, it may be time to take a look at this event from a 30,000 foot viewpoint; what is the Lord doing in the midst of these events? One of our district staff members prayed this morning that the Lord already knew of these events before creation. What a powerful reminder! Have we, as followers of Christ, taken a moment, in prayer, to seek what the Lord may have been planning to do through these events? As our District Superintendent has stated, we live in an interesting time in church history and nothing could be truer. But, the question is, what part will we play? The Lord isn’t reacting to events that were out of His control but has a plan from the very beginning of time and is leading His bride (the church) to claim the nations to Himself? Our Lord uses current events to sanctify His church! In Matthew 24: 14 (the well loved passage throughout the Alliance), Jesus makes it clear that the events we see around us are the “beginning of the birth pains” and that “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Church was never meant to be a Sunday only ministry! We, as the American church, have prioritized the Sunday meeting not only as an important gathering (which it is), but unfortunately often as the most important function or only function that matters within the church. Maybe our Lord’s plan is to use this to awaken the American church to impact our parishes! It is my appeal to our district churches, that we use this pandemic as an opportunity to reach our parishes and communities in ways not possible before. Below are only a few ideas to encourage your church leadership to prayerfully consider how you can impact your parish/community to be about the Lord’s work proclaiming the Gospel to the whole world and doing so creatively in light of current events. As John Calvin has said, “Duty must not be neglected, no more in epidemic disease than in war or fire.” Remember: these are only ideas, the best response would be for your Elders to gather and allow the Holy Spirit to lead how your church will respond!
- Hold a 24-hour prayer time. This can be done even with your church in their homes. Have your congregational members sign up for times to prayer through a 24 hour period and not just for current events.
- Childcare for health care workers. (*Please follow guidelines given by local, state and federal government). Since schools are closed there are many health care workers (nurses, doctors etc.) who do not have options for their children while they still work. The church can provide this in many different ways.
- Contact the elderly not only in your congregation but in your community to offer service. Offer to buy groceries, pick up medicine for those who are most at risk in your church and community. Many of these people can’t and shouldn’t be going to the store, not to mention that they also may be overwhelmed at the rush on many stores.
- Offer small groups, home groups. Encourage your congregation to meet in smaller groups and this can even be done online via Zoom etc.
- Online Prayer Services. Offer online prayer services where people can comment prayer concerns and the Elders pray over those requests.
Taken from a pastors email to his congregation:
Healthcare workers / 1st responders (police, fire, ambulance, EMS, et. al.):
– Can you give them genuine compassion from the heart?
– Can you give them your patience when you / your loved ones need them? – Can you give them support as they juggle their own family responsibilities, shopping, trash pickup, dog walking, etc.?
– Can you give them a note of encouragement, a listening, compassionate ear that helps bear their burdens?
– Can you give them silent prayers for their safety and strength?
Shut-Ins. People who cannot get their own groceries, medicines, laundry, etc. due to sickness or disability.
– Try giving them your ear/attention.
– Try giving them a call or visit (safely, to not get them sick) to make sure they have what they need
– Try giving them a reminder of simple times and circumstances; being shut- in can be incredibly lonely and even hopeless
– Try giving them your prayers
– Try giving them your cleaning skills/supplies (try going to their home with a mask and clean their home/surfaces
– Try giving them your help with technology (try offering to set up a phone call to healthcare providers or family/friends for their assistance)
Quarantined (mandated or self-imposed) individuals / families.
-Try giving them: – compassion and encouragement from a distance; drop a note in the mail, email, a phone call. Send photos, voicemail, favorite songs, etc.
– tangible help by buying supplies, groceries, medicines, and delivering them to a safe location
– a reminder of simple times and circumstances; being shut-in can be incredibly lonely and even hopeless – your prayers
– your cleaning skills / supplies (try going to their home with a mask and clean their home/car/surfaces
– your help with technology (try offering to set up a phone call to healthcare providers for their assistance)