Challenges for the church just keep coming in an onslaught that is fierce and seemingly unending. Now, the church faces a pandemic.
Throughout time God has used catastrophic tragedies to bring people to himself. Every crisis is an opportunity to love people.
Every church has shortcomings. Crisis exposes weakness and tests strength. How well the church has equipped members to be disciples who reach out is put in full view during crisis.
There are key questions.
This COVID-19 crisis is unique in that it has forced the church to go online with worship services, prayer meetings, leader’s meetings, and Bible studies. This has been a huge win!
A senior pastor of a church in Champaign, Illinois, has been hosting a weekly prayer gathering on Wednesdays at noon with attendance hovering around 100. The first week the crisis hit and church services were forced online, the noon prayer gathering, hosted online, had 3,000 participants.
Online nights of prayer were not part of the program at Southeast Christian Church until COVID-19 made it impossible to meet. Now the church’s vision to be a praying church is taking a big step forward due to the crisis.
During times of crisis, the Gospel can be demonstrated most beautifully. God gave us the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20),
the great commandment (Matt. 22:37) and the great concern
(Matt. 25: 34-46) as the full Gospel. As the church responds as Jesus commands in Mark, the church becomes relevant to the community.
During a crisis, the “least of these” among us suffer most. In the case of this crisis, it’s the elderly, the poor, single moms and their children that are hit first and hardest. Across the U.S., 45% of single moms live in poverty.
Mark 25: 34-46 describes praying for the hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick, and those in prison. This could be expanded to those are anxious, giving hope.
A crisis can also expose a lack of unity within the body of Christ. For years, pastors have been praying that God will unite the body of Christ in cities across the country. Prayer can demolish strongholds that divide, such as racism, denominationalism, politics, poverty, affluence, and more. Every part of the body of Christ needs the other parts. Each part of the body has blind spots. As we submit to one another, blind spots are exposed and God is glorified.