I think we can all agree we have never been in a situation like the one we are all now facing. The coronoavirus has brought business, travel and social interacting to a grinding halt. Fear, panic buying, and hoarding are now something we face daily. Now, we all have to rethink how we do ministry and how we continue to care for our flock. This pandemic has caught the whole world, especially the church, by surprise.
How should the church respond? First and foremost, we must respond to this crisis and not react to it. Our response should be one of faith and wisdom. That is why we are encouraging every pastor to follow any mandates the government issues. (that's wisdom) And, we are encouraging every pastor to take extra steps to watch over the flock. It may seem like a lack of faith to some, but limiting meetings and canceling Sunday service is one very real way we care for our sheep. Of course we pray! Of course, we fight this pandemic with spiritual weapons. And just because we cannot meet on a Sunday morning does not mean we are no longer the church!
You've preached it. I've preached it, and countless other pastors have all declared from their pulpits that people are the church, not the building. Now we all have the opportunity to practice what we preach. We have been forced back to the New Testament model of doing ministry. We must be the church and not just the church that meets in a building on a Sunday morning. As we navigate the next couple of months, please know you are not alone. River of Life Ministries will come alongside you in anyway we can to help you through this crisis. Here are some ways we can help:
- Give you advice and technical support on how to livestream your services.
- Instruct you on ways to hold small group bible studies with your flock
- Provide online materials for kids while they are home bound (click here)
- Be a source for ideas, best practices and strategies from churches across the country who are "doing church well" through the crisis.
I believe this pandemic will change the way we do ministry forever. When we arrive on the other side of this pandemic, (and we will arrive) the church will not go back to the way it did ministry before. This "social distancing" is going to create an emotional and spiritual vacuum. We have an opportunity now to be outside the four walls of the church. We can check on neighbors, send cards of encouragement, be a voice of peace and calm. We can model faith and stability to a shaken world.
So let's pull together as pastors of River of Life Ministries. Let's pray for one another, encourage one another and let's go be the church!
Praying for you all!
Bishop Dale & Debi