In recent weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about what the church can be doing to carry on God’s mission during this pandemic time. I find it difficult to accept that there’s nothing we can be doing even though many of the church’s regular outreach ministries had to be canceled, and we do not know when we can resume those programs.
My pondering on this topic has led me to these insights and I offer them to you for your consideration.
- This time offers us a time of revival and renewal. A time to reflect on our personal walk of faith…to consider whether we are on the right track, and if not, how can we get back on track with following Christ’s, teachings and example. It’s a time when we can worship our amazing God together both at the church and virtually…a time when through worship, prayer, and bible study we can strengthen our personal connection with God and nurture our spirits for growth in our faith.
- This time offers us the opportunity to evaluate the current programs of the church. Is it time to let some go? Or are there things we can do to give them new life and reach more people? Are there new things we can do to play and help one another grow stronger in our relationships with each other and in our faith? Are there new things we can do to reach out to our community? It’s a great opportunity to think creatively about our ministries, even as we listen to what God may be calling us to do.
- This is also a time to live missionally. It’s always been a time to live missionally, but perhaps this is a time calling us to remember that it’s not only through church programs that we share the love and presence of Jesus through our words and actions. We are called to that responsibility individually every day, too. At this time of social distancing, it is easier to reach out to others one-on-one.
I believe we are being called to something inspirational and revitalizing…and I find that exciting. I’m pleased that individuals and ministry teams are already thinking creatively outside of the box to offer some changes and new community outreach. For example, Service and outreach decided to do their prayer walk in September since they could not do it in May. Christian Education is preparing “VBS in a Box” for the children who typically attend our Vacation Bible School. They also are working on creating a letter ministry to both our college students and our children who usually attend our Youth Club. We want them to know they are not forgotten and that we are praying for them. There are other ideas being tossed around on that team too.
The Contemporary Christian Conversations Sunday School Class, which I teach, is learning about Missional Ministry, using the book “So Beautiful,” by Leonard Sweet. We meet on Zoom on Wednesday evenings at 6:30, usually for 40 minutes. We are applying the concepts from the book to discuss how we personally…representing Christ and the church…can reach out to our neighbors and to strangers with kindness and love to encourage them during this difficult time. I am encouraged by the stories of the blessings the class members experience as they share about their encounters with those whom they share Christ’s living presence.
These two verses come to mind for me as I think about this time in our congregation’s life. Psalm118:24 – “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” God did not give us this day (this time) to hang our heads but to hold them high and seek opportunities to continue to bring him glory through all we do and say. The other scripture is found in Esther (4:14). She was a Jewish queen. One day she was approached by her cousin Mordecai to do something to save her people. He said to Esther, “Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” I would say to us, that if we have been paying attention to God, we should know that God has been preparing us for “such a time as this.”
Let us rejoice in this time God has given us…find spiritual nourishment and renewal. Let us seek and be creative to fulfill that which God calls us to do…collectively and individually…during just such a time as this.