As ugly as recent global events concerning the pandemic appear to be, there is absolutely nothing God is not aware of.
His ways are not our ways and in the final analysis, He turns situations around for our good. It is not out of place to think that the virus sweeping the world was planned for evil. Nonetheless, in the midst of the pain, there is plenty of good. Max Lucado succinctly put it by saying, “Satan weaves; God reweaves.” In other words, what is woven for evil, God reweaves for good. And that is why we are expected to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). What an awesome God we serve
As governments shut down their countries and, by extension, Church gatherings to contain the virus, so has the gospel been spreading in an unprecedented manner – contrary to expectations. A significant number of Churches are not using the lockdown as an excuse to be complacent; instead, some have doubled down on their outreach and measurable benefits have accrued as a result.
Without a doubt, this unexplainable period has offered individuals and institutions the opportunity for introspection. The Church is one of the hardest hit institutions and has been forced to make far-reaching changes within a short period. Many have reevaluated their programs and delivery processes to adjust to the times. And so, it has not been all doom and gloom. The discerning Church is expected to emerge out of this better and stronger. For the ones ahead of the curve, there have been several gains including the following;
Prayer of unity and reduction in interdenominational squabbles.
There has been a spike in the call for prayers across denominational lines. Being a common enemy, Covid-19 has encouraged denominations to drop their differences and come together in one accord to pray for God’s mercy. As we know, prayer is the most potent tool in Christian life.
Wider congregational reach.
Despite the physical restrictions, Churches are reaching audiences further out in the world more than ever before. Churches are utilizing technology to advantage and by using Church Management Software like ChurchPad that enable every department within their ministries to operate seamlessly and with the comfort of remote working. The software tools allow live streaming, automatic giving, evangelism, production of reports and so much more.
A more creative Church is born.
Regardless of the need for physical distancing, a large number of Churchgoers want to see in real-time and in-person, albeit from a distance, the preacher. This expectation has caused some Churches to be creative in their engagement while respecting restrictions put in place. So, we have drive-in Churches where the congregation remain in their cars and worship in a purpose arranged car park. When required, they honk their horns in response to the preacher’s calls – often from an elevated pulpit in the car park. In Kenya, there is an example of the mobile Balcony Church, in which the Reverend conducts services in the open space of apartment complexes. Attendees enjoy the service from the convenience of their balconies.
Higher expression of love and compassion through increased financial and material donations to the communities and those in need.
A lot of people have fallen on hard times. Jobs have been lost and many businesses have been filing for bankruptcy. Although several governments have attempted to reduce the impact, it is still not enough to cushion the devastating effects of the virus. Gladly, the compassionate side of the Church has kicked in. There is greater community involvement through donations and encouraging words to the disillusioned. In return, the communities that overlooked the Churches or had a hard stance are beginning to embrace the congregation.
More people are reading the Bible and Devotionals.
The restriction on movement means people have more time to study the bible and daily devotions. The pressure of rushing out to work or dropping the children in school has been dramatically reduced. According to Christianity Today, Easter was the most important day for the Bible App. It said 40.6 million people completed daily reading plans on that day, which was up by 54%. And also, during that week, another 14.1 million people shared verses, which was up by 30% from the previous year. This occurrence has also helped relationships, family time together and bonding.
Church leaders are using the opportunity of the lockdown to reweave the operations of their ministries. But not all have been able to muster what is required to adapt to the crisis. The reality is that change is inevitable and the way we carried on in the past will not be returned to us – at least not entirely and not soon. The good news is that it’s not too late to retool for the uncertainty ahead. We, however, know by faith a time will come when the virus will be subdued. As a leader, what “certificate of achievement” will you hold up to say, “yes,” this is what I accomplished during one of the darkest moments in history.