If you would have told me two months ago that churches across the nation would be canceling services, restaurants would be closing their dining rooms, and toilet paper would be trending on social media, I would have said, “You’re crazy!”
Well, that appears to be the norm today.
We could debate all day whether or not people are taking it too seriously, or if others aren’t taking it seriously enough. I’m not here to argue one side or another. I’m here to offer a different perspective on the coronavirus.
The Church has been given an opportunity.
We have been given the opportunity to actually live out what it means to be the church. My prayer is that the ministry of our church and your church doesn’t slow down because of an inability to physically gather on Sunday. I pray our ministries expand, churches grow, and countless people come to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.
The opportunity we’ve been given is the platform to show the love of Jesus and to share what He has done for us through His death and resurrection.
Here are five ways we, as followers of Christ, can be the church in the chaos:
Read carefully the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John. Seriously. Read the words as if Jesus is slowly whispering them to you over a cup of coffee.
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27
Jesus gives us his peace!
Please understand where peace truly comes from. It doesn’t come from anything the world offers. It comes from dwelling in the presence of the Lord. When you respond with calm in the chaos, others will see your response and wonder where your peace comes from.
No, I’m not suggesting you make a mad dash to the local grocery store to stock up on cans of hominy and frozen pizza. As believers, we should always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have in Jesus.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15b
Leading a person to Christ is not something you have to outsource to your pastor. It’s something God has given you the power to do. Here are three helpful tips to get you started.
- Share your story. The most natural way to share your faith is to share your story. Be prepared to tell someone what Christ has done for you and in you.
- Read Scripture. Have the person read out loud verses like John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23, or Ephesians 2:8-9.
- Rely on the Holy Spirit. We have a promise from Jesus that the Holy Spirit will give us the words to say at just the right moment (see Luke 12:12).
Now more than ever, we need to be more intentional about reaching out to people in our community. We were not designed to live in isolation. We were designed to live in real community.
Schedule some time today to make five intentional connections. Call a coworker on the phone. Video chat with a friend. Text your neighbors to see if they need anything. Be intentional.
Take ownership of your network. Don’t sit around glued to the news expecting someone else to come check on you. Make the first move and take the first step. Be intentional.
Frequently and repeatedly Jesus took time alone to pray. Our world desperately needs prayer. Our civil and governing authorities need our prayer. Our healthcare, first responders, and police need our prayers.
Prayer in its simplest form is communication with God. The root word of communication is “commune” – which means to share together. Prayer is not just talking to God. It’s actually sharing time with him. When you share time with your heavenly Father you will come away with a proper focus and perspective on your circumstances. We need to be prayerful!
Many churches are moving to online experiences for the coming weeks ahead. Don’t you dare disengage. Don’t you dare believe this is a time to take “off” from church.
Now more than ever, we need to be engaged. We need to engage one another in community — even if the best we can do is online. We need to engage one another in the teaching of God’s Word. We need to engage our church community by commenting and being part of what’s taking place.
The Church doesn’t have a pause button.
I’ll leave you with encouragement from a first century church planter.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV
Copyright © 2020 by Andy Comer @ https://antiochgt.com/blog/five-ways-to-be-the-church/ . Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.