The Scriptures lead us to this idea…love your neighbor. I know you have a ton of emotions when it comes to COVID-19 but you also have one huge opportunity to love your neighbor well in the next few weeks. Let’s talk just a moment about crisis.
Crisis moments are nothing new for the church and once again in 2020 we find ourselves in a moment of crisis as we all navigate COVID-19. The church was born in a time of crisis 2,000 years ago as Israel was trapped under Roman rule. The church has endured season after season of crisis in times of persecution. Over and over Christ-followers have led the way in serving others in times of plague and war. These past few weeks our nation has been thrown into a time of crisis with this virus we call the Coronavirus. This situation has pushed churches to think outside the box like never before. We did not expect it, we hope and pray to see the end of it, and we look for opportunities in the middle of it. Times of crisis are just an opportunity for Jesus to work in us, through us, and around us.
I get to invest in leaders each month through D6 Plus and for April we took this moment to help coach ministry volunteers to know how to deal with seasons of crisis. We know for the local church crisis can come in the form of a death, leadership change, or a laundry list of other situations. Right now the crisis we all face is COVID-19 but trust me our next season of testing will come in another form when we least expect it. In our coaching video, we walked ministry leaders through how we should respond to crisis, and the team at D6 wants to give you this D6 resource for free this month as an investment in you as you lead. Watch it here and feel free to share it with your volunteers to help them think about serving in times of crisis.
Now let’s get really focused on this current crisis and how we can embrace the Gospel opportunities that are in front of us with COVID-19. Here are a few ways you and serve well in this crisis…
- Be “physically distant” and “socially engaged.” I know we are just changing one word we hear over and over with social distancing, but with technology, we can all stay socially connected and plugged in even when we physically might not be able to be together. This means we have to move beyond good intention and call someone in our church, send someone a text, or write a card. We need to choose to check on neighbors. We need to embrace having a family over for dinner to break the isolation. Physical distance does not have to slow our pursuit of each other relationally.
- Be supportive of your church leadership and other community churches. Different churches and different leaders are going to navigate this differently. None of your leadership teams ever had a class on navigating a global pandemic. Give your leaders your input with love and then support them in the choices they make for your church.
- Don’t hoard, but instead lean into generosity. This crisis gives followers of Jesus a chance to model the love of Jesus through our giving and compassion. We know fear can lead us to hoard and protect ourselves. Jesus calls us to be both wise and generous at the same time. What do you have that could help another family? How could you help a local food bank? Could you deliver a meal to a family that lost their income due to the economic slowdown?
- Pray more than you worry. We are living in a time of constant news access and we can easily be driven to worry. Our hearts hurt for people in other countries. We worry about what will happen in larger cities in our own country. Worry is natural but it can’t be allowed to drive how we live. Jesus calls us to pray. Prayer is what we counteract worry with. When you feel the pull of worry lean into intentional specific prayer immediately.
- Listen to people, spread hope, do your part. We all have an opinion about this crisis. Your opinion is natural but you are not called to spread your opinion, you are called to spread the Gospel. This crisis gives us a chance to listen to people and respect their perspective and possibly point them to hope we have in Jesus. When we listen to others we are able to give hope away as a response. When we do our part to listen to and follow our government leaders and help our community we model to others the love of Jesus in a visible way.
I know this is a difficult point in our global history but I am so proud of how local churches are leaning into the situation and innovating so the message of Jesus can move forward. The church is not a building but rather a movement. The D6 family is thankful for your leadership and we are cheering you on as you serve in this moment of crisis.